Here’s how one of India's largest private banks was duped into becoming a victim of employment fraud

  • Adeco Consultancy conned HDFC Bank by endorsing 68 unqualified employees, including one at managerial level, over the span of two years.
  • 51 of those employees were still working in HDFC when the frauds were detected.
  • The matter came to light during an internal investigation by the bank when cross-checking an employee reference.
Recruiting is never easy, but being duped into hiring unqualified or fraudulent employees is even worse. But, Adeco Consultancy, an Indian consultancy firm was able to pull it off at one of India’s top private banks, HDFC.

They were able to place 68 employees in different positions at the bank over a span of two years. The catch was that a lot of these employees had their resumes puffed up by the agency through forged documents. Reports indicate that this includes falsified salary slips, forged certificates and documents, as well as non-existent references.

On realisation that the bank had been conned, HDFC filed a case against Adeco Consultancy.


Figuring out the rabbit hole

The matter came to light in February earlier this year, when the bank was cross-checking the references listed by one of its employees, Geetanjali Bagga. She had only just joined the bank as an assistant manager in November 2017.

The modus operandi was further unraveled in an internal investigation when Bagga mentioned the role of Adeco in helping her get fake documents in order to make her profile look more impressive. She admitted having to pay ₹60,000 to Amit Choudhary from the consultancy for helping her clear the exam.

The bank immediately went on a checking spree to verify the documents of other employees who had come in through the same consultancy. At the end of the day, the probe unveiled that a total of 68 candidates in the bank had been misrepresented when being hired. 51 of those employees are still working at HDFC.

It turns out one of their own employees, Satyendra Pal, was a part of the scam helping new candidates clear HDFC's online exam.

It would start as simply as the consultancy wanting to offer training and assistance which would help candidates pass HDFC’s online exam and in return, the candidates were to pay a fee between ₹25,000 to ₹150,000, as reported by Times Now,

In actuality, the recruitment firm approached potential candidates in a very systematic manner by first identifying them through various job portals and then reeling them in by offering them opportunities as per the current openings of the bank.

So, in the middle of ‘training and assisting’ the candidates, they were asked to pay a hefty commission for the forged documents.

The FIR filed by HDFC stated that Adeco Consultancy had positioned themselves as partners of the bank to fill in vacant job openings.

The firm also had 360 different domain names, similar to those of other financial institutions, which could be provided as contact details for references.

The police has booked the firm under sections 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using forged document) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).