Zantac Lawsuit

Researching drug company and regulatory malfeasance for over 16 years
Humanist, humorist

Monday, April 16, 2018

India: GSK Whistleblower Names and Shames - Part II

"This was not just a violation of the standard operating procedures and code of conduct at GSK but also violated several sections of the Constitution of India and Penal Code."

Following on from Part I

In summary, Navneet Kumar, a rep for GSK India, is blowing the whistle on the way the company operates its business out of India.

In Part I, we learned that Kumar was told by senior management to meet his targets by "hook or by crook". Further, Kumar was paying stockists out of his own pocket so senior management would reap the monetary benefits. This despite the GSK rule book stipulating that: "a drug rep should not be involved in any money-related matters with their stockists."

Kumar filed a complaint against his Regional Business Manager, Sanjeev Jolly, who apologized and, well, that was that. GSK officials took no disciplinary action against Jolly.

Part I also highlighted how Kumar's  Area Business Manager (ABM), Jitendra Singh Chauhan (pictured above), would phone him after midnight making demands - he'd even phone Kumar whilst he was on leave. Kumar didn't comply with the demands and was summoned to a meeting at GSK's New Delhi office by Sanjeev Jolly, who asked Kumar to resign. When he refused, Jolly told him, "I will finish your career" and that, "You and your family will be out on the street."

Part II

Because Kumar didn't resign he was issued a charge sheet. It's here that he alleges GSK management created trumped up charges against him because he had brought it to their attention about violations within the company, more specifically his senior management.

Whenever a charge sheet is issued against an employee, that employee has a right to be accompanied by a co-worker or a legal representative. Kumar told me:
"After the charge- sheet was issued, I requested to GSK management to allow me legal representation because of the allegations against me. My request of legal representation was denied by GSK management. So I fought  my case alone  in the enquiry proceedings. The charge sheet alleged they had witnesses but no such witnesses were ever provided by GSK. The enquiry officer was Vipin laroia and from the early stages of the enquiry it appeared he was siding with GSK management."
In fact, according to Kumar, The investigation was trying to hide the witness statements from him. He later learned that the only witnesses GSK had were the two senior managers who had harassed him from the get-go.

Kumar wrote to senior management and asked if they could change the investigating officer, they refused.

Kumar was once again summoned, once again, he was asked to resign, once again, he refused.

Of that meeting Kumar told me:

"Somewhere I noticed that they weren't recording whatever I was saying, which was most disturbed me. Actually, as per the domestic enquiry rules, the job of recorder is to type the ongoing conversation on his laptop, but under the shadow of the enquiry officer and general manager they were acting like that they were typing but at end of enquiry proceedings they only provided me with what management had stated, and not what I had stated. They had also omitted the threats and their calls for me to resign."

Aniruddha Kunte, GSK General Manager -Employee Relations

Kumar, once again, sought help from higher management, this time writing to Aniruddha Kunte, General Manager -Employee Relations.

Kunte told him that after investigating the claims (which surmounted to asking the Inquiry Officers whether or not they were true) he (Kunte) found no evidence that suggested Kumar was being harassed, further, Kumar was told that he should "actively participate in the ongoing Inquiry."

Kumar told me he signed papers under duress as he felt intimated. He wrote, once again to Kunte:

(Email has been altered by me, Bob Fiddaman, for clarity)

Re: The last inquiry session on 10/8/2016 at the Delhi office.

The proceedings of that day were signed by me under duress. Some issues are the same as I told you earlier. But no action was ever taken by you.

The behavior of Mr. Vipin(EO) was the same. He was trying his best to harass me, he is totally under the influence of management.

During the meeting, Mr. Jolly was trying his best to put unnecessary pressure on me. Even when I told him that I was disturbed by his actions he didn't change his behavior and continued to humiliate me.

Therefore, I am requesting you to please make arrangements of a video recording of the Inquiry session.

Navneet Yadav (Kumar)


Kunte never followed up and, more importantly, never provided the video recording to Kumar.

The charges against Kumar stood and at this point, he was joined in 'the field' by his ABM Jitendra Singh Chauhan. Basically, Chauhan would follow Kumar around to see if he was meeting his company objectives, which included meeting doctors and dealers as per company guidelines.

Kumar claims that on day one, Chauhan wasted 2 hours of the day in efforts to make Kumar's daily targets impossible. Kumar also alleges that Chauhan would take company vehicles off other reps which resulted in those reps not being able to meet their targets, he even, at times, according to Kumar, used to demand Kumar's car and bike for personal use. Once again, Kumar brought this to the attention of GSK's employee relations manager, once again, nothing was done.

Chauhan continued to waste time, resulting in Kumar not being able to meet his company objectives. Because of this, and because of the restrictions placed on in, Kumar invited Chauhan to ride with him in the evening - he failed to respond to any of Kumar's text messages suggesting this.

Enter the Handwriting Expert

The charges against Kumar continued, in fact, according to Kumar, he had to endure 10 inquiry sessions. On one such occasion, they accused him of not visiting a doctor that he claimed he had. GSK management claimed that the doctor was out of India at the time so Kumar could not have visited him. Kumar, in his defense, told me:
"I requested that the Inquiry Officer and Management Representative provide evidence in support of their allegation that the doctor was not present in India. After a while they produced a letter purportedly from the doctor. In it, he had written that he was indeed out of the country."
Regarding the apparent letter, Kumar told me:
"I examined that letter very carefully and I realized that it wasn’t written by the doctor. The handwriting matched that of my Area Business Manager, Jitendra Singh Chauhan. I brought this to the attention of the Enquiry Officer who quickly dismissed it."
After this, Kumar acquired the services of a certified handwriting expert who came to the conclusion that the apparent letter from the doctor was, in fact, the same handwriting as Kumar's ABM, Jitendra Singh Chauhan. Armed with this evidence, Kumar showed the Investigating Officer at yet another Inquiry session. He told me:
"In a closed inquiry session room, they abused me and threatened me. I tried to submit my expert handwriting report but they wouldn't accept it from me. Had they accepted it,  they would have seen clearly that Jitendra Singh Chauhan, with the assistance of  Sanjeev Jolly, forged the letter. This was not just a violation of the standard operating procedures and code of conduct at GSK but also violated several sections of the Constitution of India and Penal Code."
Compare two letters and judge for yourself. Were they, as the handwriting expert suggested, both written by the same hand? (Click image to enlarge)

The top is an example of Kumar's Area Business Manager, Jitendra Singh Chauhan, whilst the bottom is, apparently, from the doctor who, it is alleged, was out of the country.

Click Image to Enlarge

Kumar was dismissed from his position at GSK.

Shortly before his dismissal, Kumar sent emails to GSK's Global Head of Investigations, Jason Lord, and GSK's then chief, Andrew Witty. Included in his emails was the handwriting expert report (below) 

Those emails and responses coming up in Part III

Bob Fiddaman

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