Provident Fund scam: 89 bogus firms benefit Rs 18 cr under Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana probe

In what appears to be a major scam, the Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) in Pune has found as many as 89 fake companies that have availed Rs 18 crore benefits from the government under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY). .

Manojkumar Asrani, enforcement officer at EPFO, Pune, filed a first information report (FIR) in the case at Wannavdi police station on Friday. The police have denounced the owners of 89 facilities for fraud and forgery, under sections 420, 467, 468, 471 of the Indian Penal Code.

According to the FIR, in view of job losses in private companies during the Covid-19 outbreak, the central government (in October 2020) had launched ABRY to increase employment opportunities in the post-Covid recovery phase.

Under this scheme, the government will provide for a period of two years 24 percent of the provident fund (PF) share (12 percent of employees and 12 percent of employers) to EPFO ​​registered institutions with up to 1,000 employees, and only the share of employees (12 percent of wages), for enterprises with more than 1,000 employees, it is said.

The FIR mentions that the accused fraudsters posing as owners of 89 enterprises made online applications to the EPFO ​​office in Pune seeking PF registration numbers. An inspection by the EPFO ​​revealed that the mobile numbers used for all the applications turned out to be the same. They also obtained PF numbers by submitting various forged documents like fake shop licences, the FIR stated.

Festive offer

When contacted, the complainant Asrani said, We have found that these objects were fake, they did not exist in the addresses submitted to us. The bogus institutions got financial benefits from the government by submitting fake employee details to the EPFO ​​office.

The FIR stated that between December 31, 2020 and December 3, 2023, an inspection by the EPFO ​​office found that 42 facilities had received Rs 9,56,76,123 against the names of fake employees. Of this amount, Rs 2,40,85,910 was fraudulently withdrawn. The remaining 47 companies received Rs 8,89,35,246 for their fake employees. Of this amount, Rs 2,21,08,577 was withdrawn, causing misuse of PF money under ABRY, the FIR stated.

Senior police inspector Sanjay Patange said an inspection by EPFO ​​officials revealed that the institutions involved in the alleged crime were fake. We have launched an investigation into this case, he said.

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