EPFO officials allegedly siphoned off over Rs 2.71 crore using Aadhar details, CBI initiate probe
New Delhi, Sep 11: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a case against three officials of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) for allegedly making fraudulent claim settlements of over Rs 2.71 crore using the Aadhar details of migrant workers. They allegedly committed frauds between March 2020 and June 2021 after the organisation had relaxed the rules of withdrawals owing to job losses due to the Covid-19 crisis, an NDTV report claims.
Acting on the complaint filed by the Vigilance Department of Employees' Provident Fund Organization, the CBI has initiated the probe against Chandan Kumar Sinha (Senior Social Security Assistant, Kandivali Regional Office EPFO), Uttam Tagaray, (Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu) and Vijay Jarpe (Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner, Chennai Regional Office, Tamil Nadu).
The internal audit revealed that the trio had committed fraud using loopholes in the system after the Vigilance Department learnt about their fraud activity on 8 May based on the tip-off given by an anonymous person.
"The modus operandi of this racket involved them creating bogus PF accounts using bank account and Aadhar collected from migrant workers and poor people for which they paid a small 'commission'. They then portrayed them as employees of companies shut down by the pandemic and withdrew the amount by filing fake claims," NDTV quoted sources as saying.
The officials were aware of the fact that there would not be second verification for the claims between Rs 2 and Rs 3.5 lakh. The CBI's FIR reportedly stated that they made around 91 fraudulent claims in 15 months. "During March 2020 - June 2021 fraudulent payments resulting in loss of ₹ 2,71,45,513 to the EPF corpus were made through claims in physical format from bogus members which were settled by Chandan Kumar Sinha and the respective approving authorities," the FIR adds.
The CBI has also been informed of similar fraudulent claims made in recent times by the EPFO, which has written to banks to freeze 800 bank accounts in different parts of the country.