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Techie was denied cab because of technical error?
CHENNAI: Clicking a wrong number on a dropdown menu to book an office-provided cab late at night may have cost TCS employee Uma Maheswari her life. Maheswari had raised a request for a cab on February 13, but selected a wrong 'cost centre' number on the company's intranet, Ultimatix.
A highly placed source in TCS said the transport administration rejected the request because of this, forcing her to walk. Her decomposed body was found in the bushes about 200 metres from her work place, nine days later. A company spokesman said the system would only "throw back" the request citing the invalid number, and not reject the request.
Each group working on a specific contract is assigned a cost centre number. Uma Maheswari, who works for a Canadian client called Northern Trust, was assigned cost centre number 1008419. "There are more than 11,500 cost centre numbers in the dropdown menu, and the employee apparently got it wrong. She selected cost centre '1008417' instead of '1008419.' That was reason enough to turn it down," said a TCS employee who added that the transport administration department has an unofficial target of 30% rejection of cab requests to cut cost.
Ravi Viswanathan, president, growth market, TCS denied this. "Maheswari had not raised a request for a cab on Thursday (February 13). Her last such request was three days earlier, on Monday. Safety and security of our employees are very important for us," he told TOI.
Sources in the company, however, said Maheswari did raise a request on Thursday night, and it went directly to the transport administration department since it came without the three-hour notice period. "An employee has to raise a normal transport request three hours in advance since the cab service is located on Cathedral Road, about 25km away from the campus. When the request is made in short notice, it surpasses the supervisor and goes directly to the transport admin. That's what happened in this case," said the source.
Police said CCTV footage showed Maheswari walking out of the premises around 10.15pm. On Monday, TCS seniors in Chennai held a meeting to decide that every employee asking for a cab to get back home at night would be given one. Viswanathan said the company has handed over the logs and other details to the investigators.