Cab aggregator Ola has ordered an investigation into fraud allegations against the company’s HR head, Yugantar Saikia.
A Factordaily report stated that Yugantar, who also heads administration, was allegedly involved in favouring select recruitment vendors and receiving kickback money estimated to be worth millions of dollars.
An Ola spokesperson confirmed the development, stating, “There is an internal investigation which is currently on and one cannot give further details at the moment.”
The report added that Ola has hired one of the ‘Big Four’ audit firms to lead the internal probe. However, Saikia stated he had not been “notified” about any such action by the company, the report further added.
Saikia had joined as Head of Human Resources for Ola in February 2015 and was also given additional charge of chief administrative officer in a few months. Coincidentally, that was just two months before it announced a $400 Mn Series E round of funding led by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s investment fund DST Global.
Saikia was reportedly serving his notice period and was expected to leave the company by the end of March. However last week, his laptop was seized and he was asked to not report to work anymore.
Prior to being HR head at Ola, Saikia was a senior director at Silicon Valley-headquartered analytics software company FICO and also worked at American Express.
The cab aggregator has recently expanded its services to Australia. This came after it raised a $2 Bn in a funding round led by the investment arm of Chinese Internet giant, Tencent in October last year.
Founded by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati in January 2011, Ola has so far raised funding of $3.9 Bn in 11 rounds from about 20 investors. It’s currently working with a team of nearly 6,000 employees.
This is not the first time Ola is in news for an errant employee. Last August, Ola employee and co-founder of Qarth Technologies, Abhinav Srivastava, had been arrested by Bengaluru’s Central Crime Branch on charges of Aadhaar data theft.
Given that a lot of investor money is riding on Ola, it will be imperative for Ola to quickly resolve this unsavoury issue of the fraud perpetrated by the HR head.