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Six EPFO employees allegedly siphon Rs 21 crore from PF pool: Report

The fraud was unearthed during an internal probe; six accused at large

epfo pti EPFO manages the accounts of over six crore members and has a corpus of over Rs 10 lakh crore | PTI

A nexus of employees at a Mumbai office of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) allegedly siphoned over Rs 21 crore from a common PF pool through fraudulent withdrawals, The Indian Express reported citing an ongoing internal investigation.

According to the probe, a 37-year-old clerk—the brain behind the fraud—at the EPFO’s Kandivali office allegedly used as many as 817 bank accounts of mostly migrant workers to fraudulently claim PF totalling Rs 21.5 crore on their behalf and deposit it in their accounts. Apparently, 90 per cent of the money transferred to these accounts has been taken out, the probe report found.

The clerk Chandan Kumar Sinha, and five other employees have been suspended after the fraud was unheard of. The six are reportedly absconding. Sources cited in the report said that as soon as the internal audit was wrapped up, the EPFO would move to hand over the case to the CBI.

“No individual PF account has been misused (in the fraud). The money belonged to the pooled fund and it is a loss to EPFO not any individual. It is the equivalent of a bank robbery,” a senior official told The Indian Express.

The case, meanwhile, has sent alarm bells across EPFO offices that directly and indirectly managing upto Rs 18 lakh crore in savings of individuals. The money that was fraudulently withdrawn belonged to the pooled fund of EPFO, which holds deposits made by registered organisations every month. The EPFO has decided to scrutinize all transactions - especially recent ones, including those of the previous financial year - at all field offices across the country.

The decision was taken following an internal audit in August at the EPFO office in Mumbai which exposed the fraud, Mint reported.

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