Statement Given by Parul Jain to Nishith Desai Associates
Very recently, one person from Deloitte who was part of the team which had been assigned my ethics concerns, got in touch me with - not as a representative of Deloitte but as a good hearted person. That person has confirmed that there was some back and forth between Deloitte and Nishith Desai Associates around February of 2020 as part of a cover up exercise. As part of this exercise NDA shared a statement from Parul Jain and asked Deloitte to confirm its veracity. This looks like another sham and an attempt to cover everybody’s backside.
Parul Jain’s statement to NDA comprised of the following:
- I never worked on any IL&FS matter in BMR or Deloitte.
- It seems that the allegation is also with respect to my having being asked to leave Deloitte abruptly due to having been found “indulging in unethical practices” and as a “cover up” due to leakage of certain information to investigation authorities and to media. In this context, I have served a three month notice period at Deloitte. In particular, I also had exit discussions with Mr Vipul Javeri, Head of Tax, Deloitte and Mr. Venkat, CEO and Managing Partner of Deloitte. Further, I have never been summoned by any investigation authority on any matter, leave aside the IL&FS issue.
- There is also an allegation that I had been forced to leave Deloitte after a whistleblower had blown a whistle on Deloitte’s internal ethics reporting system. I understand that a letter with similar allegations has been received by Deloitte now, much after I have left Deloitte.
- I would also like to mention that Deloitte has not contacted me with respect to any such allegations.
- I have never transferred any NDA data to either BMR or Deloitte or to any client or to any other person, or used it in any manner whatsoever.
As expected Deloitte was happy to respond with an affirmative and put a hiatus to this matter. So was Nishith Desai Associates. But the blatant falsehood of the statement is obvious.
- Yes, possibly IL&FS was not a client of Parul Jain. I never alleged that to be the case. In my ethics concern I had alleged that Parul Jain and Shefali Goradia had several clients who were either investors in IL&FS or beneficiaries of the loans that were extended bypassing the proper procedure. This is a matter of record, the evidence for which was part of my ethics concern. Thus this statement is to merely dodge the core allegation.
- If this is true then Deloitte India’s ethics team has just been playing games with me. My ethics concern was raised in the beginning of August 2019 and Parul Jain stopped coming to work in early November 2019, i.e. within 3 months of my raising the ethics concern. Did she resign before my ethics concern was raised? If yes then why did Deloitte send her as its representative to the IFA London conference in September? Why was her resignation never announced or she given a proper farewell? Most importantly, why did Deloitte’s ethics team even pretend to investigate my concern and why did it insist on connecting with my source?
- I raised my ethics concern in August which is three months prior to her ‘exit’. I don’t know which letter was received by Deloitte much after her departure. This is a patently false statement.
- This contradicts statement 3. If Deloitte never contacted her then how did she come to know about this fictitious letter? I find it difficult to believe that Deloitte never asked her to provide explanation to my ethics concern before her exit.
- That is the biggest lie of them all. If she never used the data then why did she steal such humongous amount of data from NDA in the first place. Not to mention that she had herself admitted using this data and sharing it with Shefali Goradia in order to poach clients.
I don’t need to say anything further. These folks are utterly shameless!
Based on the above information I wrote to Mr. Venkatram, CEO Deloitte India. I wrote to him purely to express my anguish. I had heard him speak about ethics in the past so I had some hope that he might at least look into how shamelessly Deloitte India’s ethics team had conducted the inquiry into my ethics concerns. But generally speaking I did not expect any response. But I did get a response.
But first my email to Mr. Venkat:
I was employed in Deloitte India till 2020. I quit Deloitte because I faced immense heat after I had blown whistle on unethical conduct of two partners at Deloitte namely Ms. Shefali Goradia and Ms. Parul Jain. You may refer to ethics concerns bearing IDs 331037840902 and 576839803702 in this regards.
The ethics team inquiring into my ethics concerns, in September 2019, had communicate to me that it was investigating this matter and had also asked me to connect it to my source who had documentary proof substantiating my allegations. I had made the necessary connection and the ethics team also obtained some evidence from my source in October 2019.
One of the partners accused in my ethics concern namely Ms. Parul Jain suddenly left the services of Deloitte in the second half of October 2019, just a few days after the ethics team got the aforesaid evidence from my source. I learned a few months later that she had joined the services of the law firm Nishith Desai Associates, the same law firm against which the two accused partners had unethically acted against. Ms. Shefali Goradia, however, continued to remain in the services of Deloitte India, and to the best of my knowledge she still is.
Regrettably, the ethics team disclosed the identity of my source to Ms. Parul Jain. After joining the law firm Nishith Desai Associates, she colluded with the law firm to target my source. The law firm raided my source’s residence with the objective of retrieving any incriminating evidence he had. This has also been reported in the press — https://www.dailypioneer.com/2021/page1/india---s----panama-papers----on-shell-firms--tax-loopholes-gather-dust.html
I have been informed by a friend that Nishith Desai Associates had also approached Deloitte India for verification of a statement by Ms. Parul Jain which was part of the cover up exercise. In that statement Ms. Parul Jain had claimed that she quit Deloitte in October 2019 after serving a three months notice period and also had exit discussions with the CEO & Managing Partner of Deloitte India, i.e. your good-self. She has also stated that there was no investigation against her at all at Deloitte.
I am also told that Deloitte India has confirmed to Nishith Desai Associates that the statement of Ms. Parul Jain is true. I find it very hard to believe that. Because if her statement is true then it means that Deloitte India’s ethics team has just been playing games with me. I raised my ethics concern in the beginning of August 2019 and Ms. Parul Jain left the services of Deloitte in the second half of October 2019, i.e. within three months of my raising the ethics concern. Had she resigned before I raised my ethics concern? If that is true, then why did Deloitte’s ethics team even pretend to investigate my ethics concern and why did it insist on connecting with my source? Why did it even ask my source to provide evidence? Further, why did Deloitte send Ms. Parul Jain as its representative to the IFA Congress in London in September and why was her resignation never announced? I find it difficult to believe that the ethics team was conducting an investigation against her while she was in exit discussions with yourself.
Evidently, Deloitte’s ethics team has not discharged its duty and this shows Deloitte India in a poor light, especially because Deloitte got a bad name in the IL&FS scam and my ethics concern also had IL&FS connection. In the limited interaction I have had with you, I have got an impression that you are very particular about ethics. Therefore, I am writing this email to you to share my anguish. I am assuming that you are not fully aware of what has transpired in this matter and all this has happened without your approval. It will be nice if you can take appropriate action in this matter, or at least provide me an explanation on what transpired.
And this is the email reply I got from Mr. Mehul Modi of Deloitte India on February 8th, 2022:
Your email of 16 January 2022 has been sent to us with a request to examine and respond appropriately.
We note that our Ethics team had already informed you that all the complaints you have made have been duly inquired into, that none of your allegations was substantiated, and that we consider the matter to be closed. Your email under reply essentially repeats the allegations made earlier.
We reiterate our communication of 16 January 2021 to you and confirm that you continue to remain anonymous to us as does ‘your source’.
As mentioned to you earlier, we take ethics matters seriously and confirm your complaints have been duly inquired into. We deny each of your allegations.
IN Secretarial team
This email was immediately followed by 3 recall emails with subject “Recall: Response to Ethics Complaint”
Modi, Mehul would like to recall the message, “Response to Ethics Complaint”.
So I don’t know what to make out of this. Has Deloitte withdrawn its reply?
Even if it has not withdrawn, the reply is a totally bogus one. It does not address the queries I had raised before Mr. Venkat. It sidesteps my email and merely reiterates that Deloitte India had already inquired into my complaints and deny all my allegations. Therefore under the impression that Deloitte has not withdrawn its reply, I sent the following rejoinder to Deloitte on February 16th, 2022:
Dear Mr. Modi,
I have received two emails from you on Feb 8, 2022 which were followed by three recall emails. Therefore, I am unable to make out whether this is an official response.
Irrespective of whether it is an official response, let me reply to it:
It is not clear which email of 16 January 2022 you are referring to. I had not sent any email to you with a request to examine. I had sent an email on that day to Mr. Venkat, CEO. Are you referring to that email?
If that is the case then I had not sought a fresh investigation into my ethics concerns. I have never received favourable response from Deloitte India’s ethics team in this matter, and I am convinced that it has consciously buried the matter. I realize that no useful purpose will be served in my requesting a re-examination of those ethics concerns by Deloitte.
In my email to Mr. Venkat I had expressed my anguish at the new information I have received that Ms. Parul Jain had already resigned prior to my raising the first ethics concern in August 2019 and that there was no investigation done against her. As per this information received by me she was in exit discussions with Mr. Venkat while the Deloitte ethics team pretended to investigate my ethics concerns and sought evidence from my source. Further as per the information received by me Deloitte has confirmed all these facts to Nishith Desai Associates, the firm which Ms. Parul Jain joined after leaving Deloitte. Strangely, I am also told that Deloitte has confirmed to Nishith Desai Associates that my ethics concern was raised much after Ms. Jain’s exit in October 2019.
I urge you to read my email to Mr. Venkat more carefully. I have not reiterated the allegations of my ethics concerns in that email, nor have I have I requested for reopening of those ethics concerns. I leave it for Deloitte to decide if it wants to reopen those ethics concerns. However, I am anguished by the manner in which this matter has been handled if the new information that I received is correct, and that is the anguish I had expressed.
Your response fails to address the issues that I have raised in my email to Mr. Venkat. You have merely stated that you deny all my allegations without being specific. Please provide a direct answers to:
1. Did Ms. Parul Jain resign prior to my raising ethics concern in August 2019?
2. Was she in exit discussions when the ethics team was investigating my ethics concern?
3. Was any investigation conducted against her at all? When did she actually resign?
4. If she had already resigned and Deloitte did not wish to do an investigation against her then why did the Deloitte ethics team seek a meeting with my source and subsequently the evidence?
5. What has Deloitte done with the evidence it obtained from my source in October 2019?
6. Has Nishith Desai Associates contacted Deloitte regarding this matter and has Deloitte provided any information/confirmation to it?
I hope to get straight forward answers to the above queries.
I am yet to receive any response from Deloitte India and I don’t think it will. Deloitte is completely exposed. That Deloitte has been less than forthright in this matter is evident from the response it had provided in January 2020 to a journalist who had posed certain queries regarding this same matter. Here is the content of that response:
We write to you on behalf of Deloitte India. Please find below their response to your email.
“We refer to your email below relating to allegations from a purported whistle-blower complaint.
The services referred to in your email were not provided by Deloitte but appear to have been provided by Ms. Jain in her earlier employment with another entity. Please note, she left Deloitte in October 2019.
In any case, we take allegations concerning ethics and compliance seriously and, take appropriate action where necessary.”
So as per the response above Deloitte claims to have investigated into my complaints and found that Parul Jain had indeed indulged in unethical activities but she had done those activities while she was employed with her previous employer. If this is true then the question is which is the “another entity” that Parul Jain was “earlier employed” with? Is it BMR or NDA. If it is the former then Deloitte cannot wash its hands away because BMR was acquired by Deloitte and thus it assumed all the BMR’s liabilities as part of the acquisition. NDA cannot be the “earlier employer” that Deloitte is referring to as that will be preposterous. Deloitte will not be able to answer this question!
A detailed and authentic version of this Parul Jain Nishith Desai Associates Saga is on the wordpress blog The Fall of Nishith Desai which is best read from bottom to top. There is also a medium version of this at https://nishith-desai.medium.com/the-fall-of-nishith-desai-36b82d2b4793