When the plea came for hearing, a division bench comprising Justice MM Sundresh and Justice R Hemalatha set aside the contention of the counsel appearing for Cognizant that the alleged matter reportedly transpired in another country and thus could not be tried in a court of law here. The bench then directed it to file a reply within four weeks.
The petitioner M L Ravi, president, Desiya Makkal Sakthi Katchi, contended that the proceedings of the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States dated February 15, 2019, which was available in public domain, disclosed that two senior executives from the headquarters of Cognizant Technology Solutions Corporation (CTS) in the US had authorised a contractor to pay USD two million bribe to a senior government official for issuing planning permit for their project in Chennai.
Based on this, Cognizant’s Indian subsidiary authorised the payment of approximately USD 7,70,000 to a government official for an environmental clearance for a project in Pune during 2013-14.
In 2015, the Indian subsidiary retroactively authorised and reimbursed approximately USD 8,70,000 to third party contractor who had paid it as bribe to officials for construction related permits in Siruseri.
The company received ill-gotten gains of approximately USD 16,394,351 as a result of the conduct and had agreed to pay penalties with interest, the petitioner said, adding that his complaint in this regard to the CBI and the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption had failed to evoke any response.