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How Did Wipro Catch 300 “Moonlighters”? Stock Market Investor Has A Viral Theory

New Delhi: How did Wipro, which sacked 300 of its employees recently for working with other IT companies at the same time, come to know of this work-from-home infidelity? The company hasn’t explained that – only termed these “moonlighters” as “cheaters”— but a Twitter user’s theory is now viral.
These IT professionals “in their work from home avatar” joined other companies that were also in WFH mode, tweeted stock market investor Rajiv Mehta, who has over 20,000 followers and mostly posts share-trading tips.

“Same competency, double delivery,” he wrote about the moonlighting, “Two different laptops, same WiFi, catering to two different clients — all from the comfort of own home, in own hometown.”

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

And then he answered his own question, claiming, “The most innocent looking, unassuming, always in the background — Provident Fund 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 Mr 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… Systems are so beautifully integrated at the backend that it was next to impossible for these moonlighters to create two identities both financially and demographically,” according to Mr Mehta.

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.”

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The PF authorities have not confirmed this.

But Mr Mehta said the “entire Bhanumati ka kunaba came down crashing” after this duplication “was reported to companies”.

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.

Concluding the thread, Mr Mehta praised the government’s Digital India initiative — and the interlinked infrastructure — for “working at grassroots level to weed out corruption”.

Wipro boss Rishad Premji had last month said 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, with a huge presence in India, and the homegrown Infosys have also declared moonlighting “an unethical practice”.

The viral Twitter thread today lent another spark to a larger debate.

A user named Abhishek More described the moonlighters as “300 employees putting in twice the work at two different jobs, working diligently at both, trying to earn additional income to provide better for their families”.

He slammed Mr Mehta as “a privileged man playing golf and giving one of the most useless threads on digital India!” Mr Mehta’s profile photo shows him teeing off.

But another user named Vicky sought to add some balance: “When you join a company, you sign a contract and most of the contracts clearly say that employees can’t moonlight.”

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“It’s not only unethical but also very risky to the company. A completely different business or something that is not related to the current work is ok in my opinion,” he added.

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