Global consultancy firm PriceWaterHouseCoopers’ India
unit has been taken to court by a former executive who has alleged 'falsification of accounts, evasion of income tax, and violations of various other statues'. The complainant in the petition filed to the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Gurgaon, is Sarvesh Mathur, who was the firm’s India chief financial officer from March 2008 to December 2011.
Mathur’s petition has listed as respondents PwC India’s former chairman Deepak Kapoor and current chairman Shyamal Mukherjee, among others, and has filed for defamation, criminal intimidation, and cheating.
"Wilful falsification of accounts, on multiple occasions, by the accused, which also resulted in evasion of income tax and service tax running into several crores of rupees and various other offences committed by the accused can be easily established by the documents which the accused have acknowledged to be their official documents," the petition stated.
When contacted, a PwC spokesperson gave the following statement: "This is in a long series of defamatory attempts made against PwC by persons who seem to be acting in consort with each other with the sole purpose to harass and bring the name of PwC under disrepute. The case filed by an ex-employee Sarvesh Mathur
is also an attempt in that direction to mire PwC and its officials on tenuous grounds in litigations. We plan to apprise the Hon'ble Court of Judicial Magistrate of the facts."
The first hearing of the case was on June 7 and the next is on Tuesday, July 25.
In his petition, Mathur states that while working with PwC India, he had been raising the issue of falsification of accounts
and tax evasion. He says that he was forced to resign and his reputation tarnished after he pointed out wrongdoings within the company.
Mathur states that he was told to stop attending work from September 2011 and was forced to resign on December 31. According to the petition, he was told that he was being paid extended severance till March 31, 2012.
However, the severance was held back, claims the petition, as he had forwarded some emails to his personal accounts, which he wanted to present to tax and law enforcement authorities later. According to Mathur’s claim, PwC later made a resignation letter dated February 2012 with the intention of defaming him.
Mathur claims that he was forced to delete the emails in his possession and that the company countersigned an undertaking in which it promised to release those emails from its end if ever directed by a court or the authorities.
The petition states that Mathur received a letter from income tax authorities in December 2013 in connection with an inquiry into PwC India.
According to the petition, when Mathur asked PwC to release the emails, he was refused and told to 'cease and desist'.