The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Mumbai, busted a major provident fund (PF) scam where a construction company allegedly usurped Rs 24.91 crore which actually belonged to its employees.
The anti-corruption branch (ACB) of the CBI charged former Regional Provident Fund Commissioner of Vashi and his junior for allowing undue gain to the company by not taking any action against it.
They were also charged for cheating the provident fund office.
The CBI registered the case on Wednesday against E. S. Sanjeeva Rao, former Regional Provident Fund Commissioner-II of Employees Provident Fund Sub-Regional office, Vashi and D. M. Ambokar, Enforcement Officer attached to the same office. Rao is presently posted at Thane Employees Provident Fund Office.
Praveen Salunke, Deputy Inspector General of Police, CBI ACB, Mumbai, said that the officials entered into a criminal conspiracy with Directors and Consultant of Pratibha Industries Limited, a construction company situated in Chembur and unknown officials of Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) and CIDCO to cause wrongful gain to the company.
The company has undertaken construction work of roads, flyover and houses from NMMC and CIDCO.
The amount usurped was the contribution towards PF, from 2004-2005 to 2008-2009, by the employees who were engaged in these projects.
CBI said that the company also undertakes projects on all India level.
Salunke said that Rao, Ambokar and some other unknown PF officials had begun assessment of the company in 2009 and found that it was not depositing the PF deducted from its employees’ salary with the department.
However, instead of calculating the exact contribution of the employees towards PF, Rao passed an assessment order on March 20 last year determining the dues (not deposited with the PF office) at only around Rs 6.72 lakh for the period October 2003 to January 2009.
The report was sent to Ambokar who also accepted it without verifying the facts.
The CBI found that some officials of NMMC and CIDCO too connived in the scam and did not submit documents related to projects awarded to the company, to the provident fund office while the assessment was being done.
CBI said if the PF officials had taken cognizance of the case, they could have levied penalty and damages, which could have taken the amount to Rs 43.52 crore (including Rs 24.91 crore).
CBI said that after giving the employees their dues, the PF officials could have deposited the amount recoverable as penalty and damages in the government kitty.
On Thursday, the CBI conducted searches at the office and residential premises of both the PF officials and also in the office of Pratibha Industries at Chembur.