TCS scam — a modus operandi common to mass hiring practices? 

While the full extent of the impact is yet to be determined, the recruitment scam at TCS highlights the need for heightened vigilance and stringent measures in the mass hiring processes of IT companies and industries with similar recruitment patterns


The recent Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) recruitment scam has sent shockwaves through the information technology (IT) industry. It has exposed the unethical practices in mass hiring and internal resource management.

Scam uncovered

The scam that shook TCS revolves around ES Chakravarthy, global head, resource management group (RMG), TCS, who allegedly accepted bribes from staffing agencies over an extended period of time. Responsible for hiring and placing candidates within the organisation, the RMG processes an astounding average of one candidate per minute. With around 3,000 employees, the division handles the placement of over a thousand engineers and new hires daily.

Allegations & internal investigation

A whistleblower brought the scandal to light, prompting TCS to initiate an internal investigation. A committee comprising three members, including Ajit Menon, chief information security officer (CIO), was formed to probe the allegations. After weeks of thorough investigation, the head of recruitment was sent on leave, four senior officials of the RMG were terminated and three staffing firms were blacklisted. Furthermore, Chakravarthy himself has been barred from entering the office. It is noteworthy that Chakravarthy has been associated with TCS since 1997. Another RMG official, Arun GK, also faced repercussions and was dismissed.

While the TCS scam is a glaring example of fraudulent practices in mass hiring, it is essential to avoid generalising and assuming that all IT companies or industries following mass-recruitment practices engage in such activities. However, the TCS scandal does raise concerns about the vulnerability of mass hiring processes to manipulation and corruption.

Tanaya Mishra, VP and head – HR, Endo International, tries to explain the process. Information technology companies such as TCS and others often outsource their recruitment processes to agencies that are expected to provide suitable candidates. These companies typically have well-established placement strategies and may even blacklist certain agencies or universities based on their past experiences. However, there can still be instances of fraud or manipulation within the system.

“If there is collusion or corruption within these agencies, it can lead to dishonest practices. This is the first area where the integrity of the hiring process can be compromised”

Tanaya Mishra, VP and head – HR, Endo International

According to her, the first instance of fraud occurs during the initial scrutiny by the agencies responsible for shortlisting candidates. “If there is collusion or corruption within these agencies, it can lead to dishonest practices. This is the first area where the integrity of the hiring process can be compromised,” explains Mishra.

The second area prone to fraudulent activity is the selection of colleges and candidates. According to Mishra, this process involves individuals within the organisation who may have vested interests or monetary incentives. Such individuals can easily manipulate the selection process to favour certain candidates or colleges.  

Several factors contribute to the susceptibility of mass hiring processes in the IT industry and other sectors that tend to go in for mass hiring:

Competitive environment: Intense competition and the need to meet recruitment targets within strict deadlines can create an environment conducive to unethical practices.

Insufficient monitoring: In large organisations, limited supervision and monitoring mechanisms can allow scams to go undetected for extended periods, making it easier for fraudsters to exploit loopholes.

Reliance on external agencies: The involvement of external staffing agencies adds another layer of complexity. In the absence of proper regulation and monitoring, it opens up potential avenues for fraudulent activities.

Lack of stringent background checks: Mass hiring often prioritises speed, leading to compromised background-verification procedures. This can enable individuals with malicious intent to infiltrate the system.

Mishra also points out that there may be multiple agencies involved in the process. Some agencies act as intermediaries, bringing together multiple colleges and offering candidates to organisations. While this can provide a broader pool of candidates, it also increases the complexity and potential for misconduct.

Within certain organisations too there have been instances of unethical practices.  

It is worth noting that these findings are based on Mishra’s investigation. “However, it is crucial to address such issues and promote transparency in the hiring processes of IT companies or any other industry. By exposing and discussing these concerns, it becomes possible to create awareness and encourage organisations to take appropriate measures to prevent such fraudulent practices,” asserts Mishra.

“It is unfair to paint all companies with the same brush based on the actions of a few individuals. Each company should be evaluated on its own merits and efforts to maintain ethical standards”

Ramesh Shankar S, chief joy officer,

Ramesh Shankar S, former HR head Siemens and chief joy officer,, says that most companies, especially those that are large and growing, have processes in place to ensure checks and balances. These processes are designed to prevent fraudulent activities and maintain integrity in the hiring practices. However, he admits that it is not fair to generalise that such scams happen in all IT  sectors and other sectors where mass hiring is practised, as every good organisation strives to have well-established protocols to prevent such incidents.

“If any fraudulent activities do occur within a company, it is the fault of the individuals involved rather than the entire organisation,” points out Shankar. “Any reputable company would take appropriate action to address such misconduct. In the case of TCS, the firm has taken measures to rectify the situation and preserve its strong reputation in the industry,” says Shankar.

As Shankar rightly observes, in other areas of business too — such as sales that deals with multiple dealerships or the supply chain that works with various vendors — there can be instances of corruption or unethical behaviour. He believes it is crucial for companies to take action against individuals found engaging in such activities and to educate and train their employees about ethical conduct.

Shankar feels, “It is unfair to paint all companies with the same brush based on the actions of a few individuals. Each company should be evaluated on its own merits and efforts to maintain ethical standards.”

The TCS scam serves as a stark reminder of the importance of maintaining ethical hiring practices and implementing robust mechanisms to prevent fraud. Companies must prioritise integrity, transparency and thorough background checks to safeguard their recruitment procedures and protect their reputation. By doing so, they can foster an environment of trust and uphold the credibility of their hiring practices, ultimately contributing to a more reliable and ethical industry as a whole.


  1. This corrupt practices was spoken in hush hush tones during middle 2000s. It was rumoured that some HR middle level companies had started ‘single table companies’ and operated the same through the relatives. The aim was to appropriate the entire Fees/Allowance paid for recruiting the candidates.
    Corrupt practices have been going on for decades, running through many companies, because the same employees were hopping from one IT company to another (Some where posted to foreign countries and could have been taking bribes in foreign exchange) and went up the ladder and are holding top positions today.

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