CBI books three EPFO officials for multi-crore fraud

By Special Correspondent
EPFO logo. File

The CBI has booked three officials of the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) for allegedly causing huge losses to its corpus by settling more than 90 claims in the name of persons shown as employees of a Mumbai-based company that wound up in 2009.

“When investment loss is also factored in, the wrongful loss to the corpus at the hands of the fraudsters is compounded many times over and above the principal sum of ₹2.71 crore,” the FIR said. The fraud was committed between March 2020 and June 2021.

The accused officials have been identified as senior social security assistant Chandan Kumar Sinha, who is posted in Mumbai; assistant PF commissioner Uttam Tagaray, who is currently in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore; and assistant PF commissioner Vijay J. Jarpe, who is posted in Chennai.

A total of 91 PF accounts of those projected as employees of B. Vijay Kumar Jewellers had been created. Their claims were settled at the Kandivali East (Mumbai) regional office of the EPFO.

The fraud came to light after the authorities received a complaint through email, alleging that a resident of Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh had been withdrawing funds from the PF accounts linked to closed companies, and B. Vijay Kumar Jewellers was one such entity. An internal inquiry led to the detection of 91 such accounts.

According to the FIR, the modus operandi was to get the identification documents and bank passbooks of poor people by paying them around ₹10,000 per head and using the papers to portray them as employees of companies which had already been closed.

The accused would then open PF accounts in the name of such “employees” with zero balance and show credits in the range of ₹2 lakh to ₹2.5 lakh in each of the accounts by misusing an “Appendix E” provision in the software, a functionality provided to rectify accounting problems like excess credits, wrong debits and omission of withdrawals.

Fraudulent claims were generated in the system in respect of the PF accounts, and they were then settled by the accused officials. The claims were disbursed in the bank accounts located in Mumbai, Nasik, Deolali, Gorakhpur, Ghaziabad, Mathura, Patna and other places.

It was alleged that the senior social security assistant played a direct role in the fraud. His salary account records showed credits of ₹30.36 lakh against salary receipts of ₹12.90 lakh from April 2019 to July 2021, which indicated to the possibility of him having acquired assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.


What is inkl?

Important stories

See news based on value, not advertising potential. Get the latest news from around the world.

Trusted newsrooms

We bring you reliable news from the world’s most experienced journalists in the most trusted newsrooms.

Ad-free reading

Read without interruptions, distractions or intrusions of privacy.