More trouble for L&T Infotech as US staff raises fraud charges

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MUMBAI: After gender discrimination and sexual harassment, information technology services outsourcer L&T Infotech, part of engineering and construction conglomerate, L&T, has now been accused of violation of immigration laws, fraud, and cover-up involving back-dating as well as fabrication of documents.
The charges have been brought against the company by a former employee, Nanda Pai, in a US court in the second such instance after the high-profile case involving allegations of visa misuse and fraud brought against Infosys by one of its employees, Jack Palmer.
Pai, a former employee in the human resources department of L&T Infotech, is seeking to be part of a gender discrimination class action suit filed by another employee, Deepa Shanbhag, in a New Jersey court. The new complaint alleges that L&T infotech circumvented H1-B visa quotas by applying for and obtaining business visas on false representations besides getting such visa-holders to work on client sites.
Pai also said she was made a scapegoat in the immigration fraud and her signature was forged in some documents. The original class action suit, which Pai seeks to join, asks for higher damages of not less than $ 100 million.
An L&T spokesperson declined to comment on a matter that was under consideration by a court of law.
According to Pai, following media reports of visa fraud by IT companies and the indictment of companies, such as Cygate Software and Vision Systems, L&T Infotech was concerned with potential liability for having submitted false documents to the US government in connection with H1-B visa applications. The firm then appointed Ernst & Young (E&Y) to audit their immigration records and procedures and the subsequent auditor's report revealed significant procedural and substantive shortcoming and documentary discrepancies reflective of widespread visa fraud, the complaint claimed. E&Y audit report showed, according to Pai, that L&T Infotech systematically backdated and fabricated documents.
"Further, defendants had routinely made misrepresentations about the wages paid to employees to the United States government in the visa applications. Employees were not paid the wages which Defendants had represented in their H1-B applications to the US government," the complaint filed to the court claimed. When pointed out some of these irregularities, she claimed she was asked to stay silent.
The complaint alleges the company rejected applications from locals in advance, thus falsely representing that they had made best efforts at local recruitment, as required by regulations in that country.

Dhananjay singh