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Pension Fraud Worth Crores Unearthed; CBI Probe On

New Delhi: Taking advantage of the relaxed norms for withdrawals amid job losses due to lockdown, three officials of Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) allegedly siphoned off around Rs 2.71 crore between March 2020-June 2021.

Based on a complaint from the Vigilance Department of Employees’ Provident Fund Organization, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a corruption and cheating case against the three, NDTV reported.

Chandan Kumar Sinha, the mastermind is a senior Social Security Assistant in the Kandivali Regional office, sources in the CBI told NDTV. He, along with Uttam Tagaray and Vijay Jarpe, are both Assistant Provident Fund Commissioner in Coimbatore and Chennai regional offices.

An anonymous person tipped off the Vigilance Department of the EPFO on May 18, following which the department started an internal audit. Based on the revelations, the EPFO filed the complaint with CBI on August 24, the report added. The accused knew the system and its loopholes well and used the data of migrant workers to defraud the organisation during the pandemic, NDTV reported quoting sources.

The trio created bogus PF accounts using bank account and Aadhar cards 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, the report added.

“The claims are found to be settled to members with bank accounts in different parts of the country such as Mumbai, Gorakhpur, Nashik, Patna, Ghaziabad and Mathura etc,” EPFO said in its complaint.

EPFO manages around 18 lakh crore savings of employees across the country.