Infosys announced on Tuesday that it had received a subpoena from a US District Court demanding documentation of its B1 visa usage,which is the subject of a criminal investigation by the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
In a statement filed with the Bombay Stock Exchange, the technology services company said the subpoena, which it received on Monday, "requires that Infosys provide to the Grand Jury certain documents and records related to the company's sponsorships for, and uses of, B1 business visas." Infosys also said it intended to comply and cooperate with the grand jury investigation.
The subpoena originates from a criminal investigation by the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Texas. Davilyn Walston, a US Attorney spokesperson for the Eastern District of Texas, said the agency had no comment on the matter since it was the subject of an ongoing investigation.
She added: "Grand juries are secretive. Whatever happens in grand jury stays there, so I can't comment."
Infosys did not return phone calls from Firstpost for direct comment.
The local US Attorney's Offices are part of the DOJ, and they prosecute cases on behalf of the US government. A federalgrand jury is convened in DOJ criminal investigations to determine whether there is reasonable belief that an individual or entity has committed a crime. If cause is found, the federal grand jury will issue an indictment, and the case then moves toward trial. Unlike other court proceedings in the US, grand juries are not open to the public.
Ongoing legal woes
The DOJ's criminal investigation is not the only legal claim Infosys is facing in relation to B1 visas.
As Firstpost has previously reported, an Alabama-based employee named Jack "Jay" Palmer filed a civil lawsuit against the company in February alleging that Infosys used the B1 visa as a way to "creatively" manoeuvre around H-1B visa caps. (Infosys has consistently been the top recipient of H-1B visas in the US.)
Specifically, Palmer said he was asked to draft fake "welcome letters" for U.S. immigration authorities to obtain B1 visas. These letters, Palmer said, falsely stated that Indian workers would be travelling to the US for a meeting, rather than for full-time employment. B1 visas are intended for short-term business travel.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, also sent a letter in mid-April to the US Department of Homeland Security and the US Department of State citing the Infosys lawsuit and requesting information on how B1 visas are being used by employers.
"My hope is that your Departments will cooperate to make sure that the B1 visa program is not being abused by employers who wish to get around the annual caps and prevailing wage requirements imposed by the H-1B visa program," Grassley wrote.