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A whistleblower lawsuit has been filed against Tata Consultancy Services for allegedly misusing Target's confidential budgeting information to underbid competitors also vying for Target contracts.

A whistleblower lawsuit has been filed against Tata Consultancy Services for allegedly misusing Target's confidential budgeting information to underbid competitors also vying for Target contracts. (Dreamstime)

A former manager handling Target Corp.'s information technology account filed a whistleblower lawsuit against his former employer, Tata Consultancy Services, for allegedly misusing Target's confidential budgeting information to underbid competitors who were also vying for Target contracts.

The ongoing federal lawsuit accuses Mumbai-based Tata - one of the biggest corporations in the world - and its Tata America International Corp. subsidiary of wrongful termination, whistleblower violations and racketeering.

Tata has denied the allegations, accused the plaintiff of theft and requested that the court dismiss the case.

In the suit, former Tata worker and Twin Cities resident Senthil Kumar Subramanian, 40, accuses Tata of breaching its contract with Target, violating nondisclosure agreements and misappropriating Target's budgeting secrets for three years.

According to court documents, Target is one of Tata's largest customers, generating "over $100 million" a year in annual revenue for Tata and its U.S. subsidiary. A spokeswoman from Target said Thursday that its attorneys are familiar with the lawsuit but declined further comment.

"Subramanian was terminated because he blew the whistle on (Tata's racketeering) activity," according to the lawsuit, which seeks various cease-and-desist orders plus unspecified damage awards.

Subramanian's complaint, filed in March at U.S. District Court in Minneapolis, alleged that personnel from Tata wrongfully accessed Target's software and downloaded data with Target's overall budget plus breakdowns by projects and programs, including IT.

The information gave Tata "an undue advantage to win several bids against the competition," the complaint said. "Rather than compete lawfully with its competitors, TCS has engaged in what appears to be an elaborate campaign of deception to steal documents, confidential information (and) trade secrets," it said.

Subramanian, who joined Tata in 2001 and became a relationship leader for Minneapolis-based Target in 2012, said in court documents he reported the "theft of Target's trade secrets" to Tata's human resources department, including its head and the ethics counsel.

Those reports, the lawsuit claims, led to Subramanian's firing on April 14, 2017, following his return to work after being granted a parental leave.

One of the motivating factors behind the firing, the lawsuit claims, "was the good faith reports he made to his employer that it was violating, or suspected of violating state, federal law or common law."

Subramanian's attorney, Gerald Laurie, said he expects the judge handling the case to schedule a settlement conference hearing in December.

Attorneys for Tata could not be reached for comment.

Visit the Star Tribune (Minneapolis) at www.startribune.com

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