Interview with two angry Pfizer spy victims.
I have spoken to two of the victims of Pfizer's spy operation in India, which I described in my article, Pfizer Finance Executive Blows the Whistle – Part Two. They are both very upset, but for completely different reasons.
I first contacted Shreeharsha Vasant Phene (picture left) to get his comments on the fact that Pfizer had sent their detectives to monitor him.
Mr. Phene, at the time Pfizer did this, was a corporate planning vice president of Trent Ltd, which owns supermarkets and retail stores, and belongs to the TATA group (more here).
He became very agitated during my phone call with him and berated me for writing about this story. He wanted to be left alone and had no interest in what Pfizer had done or if they had sent detectives to spy on him, he said.
This was, of course, a highly unusual reaction, since most people would probably be somewhat interested to hear that someone monitors them.
But not Mr. Phene.
He first claimed he knew nothing about me or the Pfizer's detectives, however, later in the call he changed his story and said this was a private matter between him and Pfizer and that he knew I was a "disgruntled employee." It appeared as if someone from Pfizer had already been in contact with him.
He also threatened me and said, "I will take action against you if you continued to write about this story."
I have, quite frankly, never been directly threatend like that before, so I asked, "what action are you planning to take?" After all, we have a free press and free speech in the U.S., just like India.
He responded, "Why should I tell you?"
I presume if I see some person lurching around the house with a sword I should start getting worried.
He was also very upset that I'd been able to find him and call him on his cell phone, and kept asking "Who gave you this number?"
It was very clear that Mr. Phene didn't want anything about him or his dealings with Pfizer India to become known publicly. Perhaps, he was simply very, very afraid about what Pfizer might do to him, just like a victim of the mob would be scared to death to talk
This, of course, made me even more interested in finding out what Mr. Phene was hiding and what he was so unwilling to reveal.
Upon reviewing Pfizer's surveillance report of Phene, I learned that Phene's daughter "Sneha" is reported to be working for "Crawford Bayley." This is interesting, because she provides a direct link to Pfizer India:
Mr. R.A. Shah (left), Pfizer India's Chairman, "is a leading Solicitor and a Senior Partner of M/s. Crawford Bayley and Co., a firm of Advocates & Solicitors." He is not only the Chairman of Pfizer but also "the Chairman/Director of various public limited companies and Chairman/member of Audit Committees." All of this according to Pfizer India's website, here.
So suddenly there is a connection between Phene and Pfizer India, in a most surprising twist to this story. The Chairman of Pfizer India is directly linked to spying on the father of another employee of the esteemed law firm Crawford Bayley!!!
One can only imagine what Pfizer India's reason for doing this would be.
It is also noteworthy that according to another India source, a second Pfizer spy victim, investor Dinesh Vrajlal Lakhani, allegedly "hates R.A. Shah because during merger, R.A. Shah conducted the first legal meeting for the merger, where Lakhani objected and then approached court."
The Telegraph in India wrote an article with the headline:
One-man army turns fly in the ointment for drug majors
May 18, 2003:
"It has all the ingredients of a David versus Goliath story. Dinesh Vrajlal Lakhani (left), a small Mumbai investor, has single-handedly upset plans for a merger between Pfizer and Parke Davis in India.
He feels the swap ratio fixed the deal is loaded against Parke Davis shareholders. Sifting through a sheaf of painstakingly compiled papers he believes will win him a tortuous court battle, Lakhani has managed to throw a spanner in what would have been a routine, hassle-free corporate merger."
And here things get complicated. Pfizer spied on the investors during the time period April-May 2003 when the investors challenged the Pfizer/Warner-Lambert merger in court.
Pfizer hired detectives to monitor Lakhani in April and May 2003, and another investor who oppsed the merger, Janak Mathuradas, in May 2003.
But Pfizer's hired goons set out to spy on Phene first in December 2003 and they also spied on Mr. Pramod Lele, a former Warner-Lambert country manager, in December 2003. It appears as if Pfizer had separate motives for these two spy operations.
I also spoke to Mr. Pramod Lele (left), the former Warner-Lambert country manager of India who was an executive with Pfizer for a short while.
When I called him in his home in Mumbai, he told me he just arrived back from work as the CEO of Hinduja Hospital. He also said he had seen my recent postings about Pfizer India and the detectives Pfizer hired to follow him.
None of that surprised him, he said. He felt there was one word to describe Pfizer - corruption. His own experience was that he'd been promised the job as CEO for Pfizer India after the Warner-Lambert acquisition, however, Pfizer retracted that offer and asked him to resign.
I asked him how he felt when he discovered that Pfizer had hired detectives to follow him, after he'd left Pfizer.
"Disgusted about the whole thing," he replied, and added, "I'm amazed they could stoop down to such a low level."
He didn't know why Pfizer had followed him, but thought it might have something to do with the fight over the Pfizer/Warner-Lambert (Parke-Davis) merger. But the date of the spy operation against Lele, in December 2003, would appear to indicate a different motive.
Perhaps one day Pfizer's auditors, KPMG, will be able to tell us more about Pfizer India's shady dealings with S.V. Phene, Lele and the others.
And next week I will give you a clue to what may have set off Pfizer's spy operation against Mr. Lele.
Link to Pfizer whistleblower stories:
1. Pfizer Finance Executive Blows the Whistle - Part One
2. Pfizer Finance Executive Blows the Whistle – Part Two
3. Pfizer Finance Executive Blows the Whistle – Part Three
4. PFIZER CFO RESIGNS after PFE finance executive blows the whistle
5. Will Pfizer CEO Mr. Kindler also resign?
6. Pfizer sales rep: "PFE tried to find 'naïve doctor...
7. Pfizer's "Delete! Delete!" memo: "Do NOT forward o...
8. Pfizer India Whistleblower Finally Gets His "25 Ye...
9. "Jeff Kindler is going to Pfizer India in June"
10. Pfizer prepares to get rid of maraviroc whistleblo...
11. Mea Culpa by a Pfizer Lawyer
12. The Pfizer Mirapex Whistleblower's amazing story . . .
13. Pfizer hires Ropes & Gray to investigate maraviroc...
14. Pfizer caught in maraviroc whistleblower's web.