Ricoh Employee Claims She Was Forced Into Implicating Others In Fraud
The Ricoh fraud story has taken a new turn on the news that a Ricoh India employee, Smriti Pandey, has filed a complaint against nine Ricoh India officials, alleging she was harassed and threatened into naming others as responsible for the fraud in the company. By Soumeet Sarkar And Arpan Chaturvedi.
Over the last ten months Ricoh India has been in the eye of a storm that involves, delayed reporting of financials, auditor red flags regarding accounting irregularities, a forensic audit, the suspension of its CEO, CFO and COO, a police complaint by Ricoh India against its own officials, shareholders’ effort to unseat four directors and a petition by the Japanese parent – Ricoh Company, requesting share cancellation and recapitalization of the Indian subsidiary.
Smriti Pandey was working as a senior executive – operations with Ricoh India. According to a source close to Pandey she was asked to step-down on May 16, 2016.
In May, Pandey filed a complaint with the Sarita Vihar police station in New Delhi, alleging mental harassment, unlawful threatening and financial loss caused by nine Ricoh officials. BloombergQuint received a copy of the complaint from a source close to Smriti Pandey. BloombergQuint’s inquiries with the police station confirmed a complaint was filed but a first information report (FIR) or case has not been registered. Pandey moved court to urge the registration of a police complaint. The first hearing took place on August 19, in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate, Saket Court, New Delhi.
BloombergQuint was able to review the court petition filed by Pandey and the police’s action taken report on the matter. In her court petition Pandey has named nine Ricoh India officials who allegedly harassed and intimidated her.
Pandey’s petition claims she was forced to falsely implicate people, who were at the time senior management officials, in the fraud at Ricoh India. Arguments to register the case will start on September 7, 2016.
BloombergQuint is yet to reach the individuals named in the complaint and Smriti Pandey refused to comment when BloombergQuint reached her on the phone. A Ricoh India spokesperson said, in an email response to queries regarding Pandey’s complaint
The investigations are ongoing and, once concluded, will be shared with the relevant authorities who will decide appropriate action. We are cooperating with the authorities and will continue to work with them during their investigations. As a policy, we will not comment on any individual until the completion of the investigations.
The story turns curiouser – Smriti Pandey has been named in the police complaint filed by Ricoh India and the national company law tribunal (NCLT) petition filed by Ricoh Company.
While BloombergQuint is not privy to the full content of Ricoh India’s police complaint, it did seek to verify who the complaint was against. Legal and police sources have indicated that the police complaint names former chief financial officer Arvind Singhal, former chief operating officer Anil Saini and Senior Executive-Operations Smriti Pandey. But Ricoh India refused to confirm this.
One of the sources has also indicated that Smriti Pandey is named in the court petition filed by Ricoh Company. In the petition Ricoh Company has sought the National Company Law Tribunal’s intervention under the oppression and mismanagement clause of company law. It has also sought to cancel its shares of Ricoh India and purchase fresh shares at a premium in order to recapitalize the subsidiary and replace the Rs 1,123 crore lost in the fraud.
When BloombergQuint checked the timeline of events, it became clear that Smriti Pandey filed her complaint after Ricoh India’s complaint against her.
May 12: Ricoh India filed complaint in New Delhi’s Sarita Vihar police station. Complaint mentions financial wrong doings in the company and sources say it names Anil Saini, Arvind Singhal and Smriti Pandey.
May 17: Smriti Pandey files complaint in New Delhi’s Sarita Vihar police station. Complaint mentions she was forced into falsely implicating senior officials for financial wrongdoings.
July 19: Ricoh Company filed NCLT petition. Seeks court’s intervention to prevent mismanagement. A source says the petition names Ricoh India officials including Smriti Pandey. The petition also seeks recapitalization of subsidiary.