CBI books eight EPFO officials for ₹18.97 crore fraud

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked eight Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) officials for allegedly siphoning off more than ₹18.97 crore from its corpus through bogus claims by creating false members’ accounts related to closed or dormant establishments.

The accused officials, Chandan Kumar Sinha, Abhijeet Onekar, Shiva Shankar Mamadi, Uttam Tagaray, Vijay J. Jarpe, Dilip Rathod, Ganesh Ghaywat and Seema Benkar, were posted at the EPFO’s Mumbai office.

In the complaint, an EPFO official said 833 cases of fraudulent claim settlements were detected in respect of accounts related to 20 closed or dormant establishments covered under the Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act. One such instance involving ₹2.71 crore was earlier reported to the CBI, which registered that case in September 2021.

Subsequently, the EPFO authorities also launched an internal inquiry into the transactions made between 2019-21 involving 19 other establishments. They found that 712 fraudulent payments resulting in the loss of ₹18.97 crore to the corpus were made through bogus claims.

As it turned out, IDs of bogus members had been created with zero balance and credits ranging from ₹2 lakh to ₹3.5 lakh, by misusing a special functionality provided in the database software that was meant for rectifying accounting problems. Subsequently, claims were generated and processed by two dealing assistants, Chandan Kumar Sinha (592 claims involving ₹17.32 crore) and Abhijeet Onekar (123 claims involving ₹4.34 crore), according to the first information report (FIR).

The balance accounts, fictitious credits and claims were verified and approved by the officials concerned, following which the amounts were disbursed to the bank accounts of bogus members. “The material on record indicate that the fraudulent transactions have taken place with the complicity of EPFO officials and external elements whose actions have inflicted heavy loss on the EPF corpus,” the FIR said.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 4:24:12 am |