Through forged salary slips, fake experience certificates and various other fraudulent documents, Adeco Consultancy was able to place 68 employees, including assistant managers and branch managers at HDFC Bank. A frontrunner among private banks in India, HDFC has lodged a police complaint against the Gurugram-based con company.
"We are trying to track down the accused," says assistant sub-inspector, Ashwani Kumar, the investigating officer for the case.
Earlier in the year, in February, while conducting the background check for Geetanjali Bagga who joined the bank in October, 2017 as an Assistant Manager, it was found that she had, with the backing of Adeco, submitted forged pay slips among other false documents. She admitted, during an initial investigation, to have paid Rs. 60,000 to Amit Choudhary who is in charge of the agency and runs it with his friend and partner in crime, Satyendra Pal.
With this discovery coming to light, the bank delved in deeper and discovered that Adeco had placed 68 employees with them over a period of 2 years out of whom 51 were still part of the bank while the investigation was under way. The forged documents submitted not only had Adeco’s name on it but also those of Lotus Consultancy and Aspire Consultancy.
The recruitment consultancy went about their plan methodically from getting enough details on candidates from various portals, getting news on vacancies from present employees, offering jobs to likely candidates against a heavy commission to not only training shortlisted candidates and forging documents but also helping them crack online tests. They followed almost surgical precision in their con scheme and rigged background checks with face emails, phone numbers and made candidates submit a phone along with 2 SIM cards to enable the trickery. The firm had also allegedly purchased 360 domain names to create fake email addresses to mimic those of banks and other organizations that could be provided as reference check contacts.
"It is an obvious case of fraud. HDFC Bank has no tie-up with the said consultancy, and we are deeply concerned over such fraudulent activities involving our brand name to cheat the general public," said Bharti Soni, HR department Vice-President, HDFC Bank.
It turns out that Satyendra Pal, the manager of HDFC Bank's Noida Sector 135 branch, had himself paid Rs 1.45 lakh to Adeco for his placement. After joining HDFC, his role was to train candidates for interviews while also helping them clear online assessments. Candidates have been reported to pay anything between Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 1.5 lakhs for their jobs.
While this sheds light on how an organization like HDFC bank could also be conned, it also points out the lengths to which some of these conmen are willing to go establish their rackets and raises the question of fair play in recruitment. Are jobs so scant that people are willing to pay fraudulent companies to secure roles?