Wipro chairman Rishad Premji
Rishad joined Wipro in 2007 and has held various positions before assuming the role of Executive Chairman in 2019 I File photo

How did Wipro nab 300 moonlighters? PF may have given them away

Twitter user Rajiv Mehta gave credit to the government's Digital India initiative for “working at grassroots level to weed out corruption”

The sacking of 300 employees by Wipro recently for moonlighting led to the question: How did Wipro come to know of this? The company hasn’t explained how and only termed these “moonlighters” as “cheaters”. But a Twitter user’s theory is now viral.

Stock market investor Rajiv Mehta, who has over 20,000 followers, tweeted: “Same competency, double delivery. Two different laptops, same WiFi, catering to two different clients — all from the comfort of own home, in own hometown.”

Also read: Wipro sacks 300 employees for moonlighting; what Rishad Premji says

“It was impossible to catch them. Then who caught them?” he wrote.

PF was the key

And then he answered his own question, claiming, “The most innocent looking, unassuming, always in the background — Provident Fund (PF) Contribution.”

PF is a retirement corpus scheme of the government under which companies deduct a part of it from the employee’s salary, and mandatorily put in a contribution too.

“PF contribution has to be deposited regularly (by the company) and its violation is a serious offence,” noted Mehta.

That’s where the digital linking of documents comes in, he said. “As all Aadhaar, PAN numbers are taken by banks to open salary account, same are used to deposit PF.”

He claimed the dual employment was caught as PF authorities run a “daily de-duplication algorithm to check if someone has paid double accidentally”. “They found out that there are accounts of individuals where contributors are multiple,” Mehta claimed. The PF authorities have, however, not confirmed this.

The “Bhanumati ka kunaba came down crashing” after this duplication “was reported to companies,” he said.

Tweet goes viral

Though he has not shared how he got to this theory and if he has evidence, the tweet that started the thread got over 10,000 responses within an hour of being posted just after noon on October 10.

Mehta gave credit to the government’s Digital India initiative — and the interlinked infrastructure — for “working at grassroots level to weed out corruption”.

Hate mail for Premji

Wipro chairman Rishad Premji had last month said at an event that the company had discovered 300 of its employees who were working directly for one of Wipro’s competitors. He had further said that the services of those employees had been terminated.

Also read: Moonlighting isn’t infidelity or promiscuity; let’s not be squeamish

Later, Premji said that he’s been getting “hate mail” over the firings. But, he insisted, playing in a band over the weekend is different from secretly working for rivals. “Cheating, plain and simple” is how he described it. Other tech majors such as IBM and Infosys have also declared moonlighting “an unethical practice”.

However, several people both within and outside the IT industry point out that nobody would relish doing a full day’s work for one company and then start afresh the same day for another. It’s the poor compensation that is driving techies to moonlight, goes the theory.

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