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Pawan Kumar Issue: Cognizant reiterates its commitment


Pawan Kumar Anjaiah
Bangalore, Jul 3: Spokesperson of Information Technology company Cognizant reiterated company's commitment to bring back the body of Pawan Kumar Anjaiah, a techie from Karnataka who allegedly committed suicide at a hotel in New Jersey in the US. Company came out with the second statement when relatives of Pawan Kumar were planning to stage protests against IT firm Cognizant for not "helping" them to bring back the body.

Read full text of the statement by Cognizant Spokesperson:

"Cognizant would like to reiterate that the company is committed to bringing the body of Pawan Kumar back, but the family needs to sign the forms required by the New Jersey Medical Examiner's office for release of Pawan Kumar's body. Unfortunately, the family is not cooperating on this issue and has raised three demands as a precondition to signing the forms and allowing the return of Pawan Kumar's body to India. The family has demanded that:

1. Cognizant should facilitate and bear the cost of the return of Pawan Kumar's remains.

2. Cognizant should provide details about the benefits that Pawan Kumar is entitled to.

3. Cognizant should get reports and documents, such as suicide note and inquest report, and get Pawan Kumar's name cleared of the murder charges pressed against him by the U.S. authorities.

Here is Cognizant's response to the three demands that has been given to the parents:

1. On facilitating the return of Pawan Kumar's body: Cognizant has already committed help to the family in facilitating expeditious return of Pawan Kumar's body to India at Cognizant's cost, and has been liaising with multiple agencies in the U.S., including the Medical Examiner's Office, District Attorney, Indian Consulate in New York, and the Funeral Home. However, as of now, the family of Pawan Kumar has not signed and returned the necessary paperwork to Cognizant that is required by the New Jersey Medical Examiner's office for release of Pawan Kumar's body. Had the family members submitted the signed forms on Thursday last week when the documents were given to them, the body would perhaps have arrived in Bangalore during the weekend.

2. On benefits: Cognizant is doing all it can within its powers to help the family members get the benefits that Pawan Kumar is entitled to. While Cognizant is in control of paying out some of the statutory benefits such as Provident Fund and Gratuity, and will pay them out once the necessary processes are completed, Cognizant has no control over the benefits to be paid out by a third-party insurer. While Cognizant can facilitate the submission of claim forms to the insurer [which are also with the family for signature], the final determination/decision on the payout will be taken by the insurer, considering the circumstances of Pawan Kumar's death.

3. On obtaining reports and documents and clearing Pawan's name: Given that Pawan Kumar's death is a subject of ongoing criminal investigation in the U.S., Cognizant has absolutely NO influence in obtaining reports and documents, such as inquest report, suicide note, etc. from the relevant U.S. authorities. Although Cognizant did reach out to them seeking the details requested by the family, we were told very clearly that Cognizant had no role to play in this and that the family needed to deal with this matter directly. Cognizant has given all contact details of the U.S. authorities to the family members and lawyers [Detectives in Delaware and New Jersey, Medical Examiner in New Jersey, District Attorney, Life Insurer, etc.] so that they can also reach out to them and make the request directly, but for some reason best known to the family, they do not seem to be reaching out to them. Cognizant is also open to offering the family the use of a telephone from one of our facilities to contact the authorities in the U.S.

Cognizant has done and is doing everything within our power to get the body back, but the family and their lawyers are making unreasonable or legally impossible demands such as seeking a job for a family member or obtaining the inquest report or suicide note. Further, the family members and lawyers should know that clearing Pawan Kumar's name is not within Cognizant's purview. The criminal investigation is still ongoing and Cognizant has absolutely no influence over such process."

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