20 EPFO Officials in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh have been booked in case of misconduct by CBI. The officials were receiving money from private provident fund consultants on mobile applications like PhonePe, Paytm and Google Pay. The officials in return were sharing data and doing settlements for them.
Central Bureau of Investigation received input on the issue of EPFO officials indulging themselves in misconduct. The central probe agency then planned and executed a joint surprise check with vigilance department of EPFO in regional office at Guntur. During the checks CBI seized mobile phones of several officials.
The scrutiny of data present on phone showed that information of beneficiaries like UAN, Passwords and OTPs were shared with several Provident Fund Consultants. To the response CBI Unit Vishakhapatnam registered FIRs against officials and others involved in the case.
FIR stated, “Further, the data exchanged between officials and such private consultants reveals that they are receiving illegal gratification/undue advantage in lieu of doing the EPFO official work. The undue advantage in the form of unauthorized money is obtained through different mobile payment apps as PayTM, PhonePe and Google Pay etc.”
The seized mobile phones showed that UAN and passwords were shared with private consultants. After which consultants used to send screenshots of payments that were made through Google Pay, PhonePe and Paytm.
CBI spokesperson RC Joshi said, “Searches were conducted at the residential and office premises of the accused located at about 40 places in Guntur, Ongole, Chirala,, Vijayawada and Guntupally in Andhra Pradesh which led to recovery of certain incriminating documents.”
There has been other incident in Mumbai where EPFO officials have been found guilty in misconduct. An EPF Claim fraud of Rs 18 crore was reported to CBI from Mumbai office of EPFO. CBI searched a total of four locations in Mumbai and recovered nearly Rs 13 lakhs from the sites.
RC Joshi said, “It was further alleged that accused adopted a unique modus operandi and created bogus PF accounts in the name of certain persons of closed companies, showed credits of approx. Rs. 2 lakh to 4 lakh against each account and drew the amounts from these accounts by filing fake claims. It was also alleged that the claims were found to be settled to the members with bank accounts in different parts of country.”