The murder of Infosys engineer Rasila Raju OP at the company’s Pune facility on Sunday has put the focus on security – specifically the vetting of guards – at tech companies. Following the incident, the police have called a meeting of IT companies, and the security and transport agencies they hire, with a view to beefing up security measures.
Rasila, 25, from Kerala, was found murdered at her workstation on the ninth floor of Infosys’s office at Hinjewadi IT Park near Pune late on Sunday evening. Within hours, the police apprehended security guard Bhaben Saikia, 26. Originally from Assam, Saikia was on his way there when he was arrested at CST in Mumbai.
Police officials said while there were guidelines in place for IT companies and other agencies follow when recruiting staff, incidents such as these showed that more precaution was required. “Very soon we will be meeting delegates from IT companies, security agencies and transport services to ensure that they follow our guidelines,” said Vaishali Jadhav, assistant commissioner of police, Pune.
The police said Saikia was an employee of Terrier Security Agency and deputed at Infosys, Pune, around six months ago. “Before offering him a job, the security agency had done his character verification, which showed he had no criminal record,” said deputy police commissioner Ganesh Shinde. “To prevent incidents like this, agencies have to carry out additional checks for fool-proof vetting,” he added.
Women employees at Infosys – who asked not to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media – told HT that while they had never worried for their safety on campus, even at night, the murder on Sunday night changed things.
“I often stay on campus when working on a project late at night. However, [the murder] has raised doubts and next time I will avoid being on campus alone,” said a woman who has been with Infosys for three years.
Another woman employee said, “Many of us work on Sundays, when there fewer people on campus. We rely on security guards for our safety so this incident has shocked us.”
Most IT companies outsource their security to other firms, which are responsible for vetting their guards. “On some occasions, security staff or drivers have been found to have been involved in crimes as they were not vetted properly,” said Sunil Pailwan, previously associated with Hinjewadi Industries Association.
Infosys maintained that it had followed all the guidelines while outsourcing its security to another firm. “It is mandatory for our vendors to carry out background checks of their employees. For this employee (Saikia) too our vendor had done a background check. As far as Infosys is concerned, we ensure that the background checks are done regularly,” said Sarah Gideon, corporate communications head, Infosys.
According to estimates, more than 300 IT companies in and around Pune employ around four lakh people.