In an unusual financial fraud, a company employee allegedly put his unemployed wife on the payroll and ensured salary payments were deposited in her name for over a decade, the firm to lose crores.
After realising in December last year that its records were manipulated, the Delhi-based company conducted an internal inquiry that established the crime. Last week, it lodged an FIR with the Delhi Police, which has launched a further probe.
The matter pertains to ManpowerGroup Service Private Limited, which provides staffing and recruitment services to several companies.
According to the complaint that ManpowerGroup has filed with the police, one of its employees, Radhaballav Nath, who joined the firm in 2008 as an assistant manager (finance) and was subsequently promoted to the position of manager (finance), allegedly worked out a plan to generate a regular source of income for his unemployed wife at the company's cost.
As the company attaches high priority to data privacy, it had allowed accessibility to the monthly payroll and reimbursement data to only three officers -- the director (human resources), the chief human resource officer (CHRO) and Nath.
Nath was an interface between the outside payroll vendor and the other departments of the company, such as HR and finance. He used to send the data related to new joinees, those who left the organisation, the working employees' attendance etc. to the payroll vendor to prepare the monthly pay register.
After preparing the monthly pay register, the vendor used to send it back to Nath, who further forwarded it to the director (HR) and from there, it was sent to the CHRO for the final approval.
The CHRO used to approve it and mail it back to the director (HR), who then forwarded it to Nath as the final pay register. Nath was responsible for sending the final pay register to the bank for the release of salaries.
It was at this juncture, before sending it to the bank, that Nath used to manipulate it and insert his wife's name, the company has alleged.
"The modus operandi adopted by Mr Radhaballav Nath was that after receiving the approved excel file containing the payroll data from the office of the CHRO, Mr Radhaballav Nath used to insert an additional row having his wife's name, Sasmita Raul @ Sasmita Nath, in the said excel sheet containing the payroll data," the company's complaint, which was converted into an FIR, said.
It added, "Along with inserting the name, he used to add the salary amount in his wife's name. He also used to tamper with his own salary figure. Thereafter, the manipulated payroll file used to be uploaded to the bank portal by Mr Radhaballav Nath, through which the salaries of all ManpowerGroup employees used to be transferred."
The internal investigation of the company found out that Nath used to upload the manipulated payroll file on the bank's portal using the computer system of another employee, who also works as a manager (finance). After uploading the file, he used to delete it from the system.
"Mr Radhaballav Nath was suspended on December 11, 2022 and an internal committee was constituted by ManpowerGroup, which sought his presence to explain the discrepancy noted in the team meeting dated December 8, 2022," the FIR said.
It further added that on being confronted with documents, Nath admitted that he had illegally transferred Rs 3.6 crore to his wife's bank account from 2012 onwards. He also admitted that he inflated his own salary and transferred Rs 60 lakh to his account over the last several years, totalling a loss of Rs 4.2 crore to the company.
Nath also confessed that he used the money to buy properties in Delhi, Jaipur and his hometown in Odisha, besides investing in mutual funds and other financial schemes. the company said.
"ManpowerGroup checked its record and it shows that it has never employed the wife of Mr Radhaballav Nath in any capacity. This fact was also admitted by Mr Radhaballav Nath during the internal investigation," the FIR read.