The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed an FIR against five Regional Provident Fund Commissioners in connection with the alleged embezzlement of about Rs 70 crore of the provident fund (PF) of the employees of Chaitanya Group of Institutions in Andhra Pradesh.
CBIs Superintendent of Police H Venkatesh said that the agencys anti-corruption bureau has filed the FIR against P Sudhakar Babu,Additional PF Commissioner,Bangalore and regional PF commissioners GR Suchindernath,KS Arya,A Ravi Kumar,and SS Shastry.
Officials of the Vigilance Wing of the PF Department have also been named in the FIR.
According to the FIR,in March 2006 the five PF officers,as part of a nation-wide programme to check irregularities relating to PF contributions in large institutions,conducted raids at various locations of Chaitanya Group of Institutions in the state and allegedly found discrepancies in depositing the PF of about Rs 70 crore with the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO).
Chaitanya Group was allegedly deducting PF from salaries of about 4,500 employees but was either not crediting it to their PF accounts,or was crediting lesser amounts,or crediting PF accounts of only a few employees.
However,instead of initiating the process of recovering the outstandings due,and penalising Chaitanya Group,the five PF commissioners allegedly made a deal with the educational institution and an alleged settlement was reached.
Not only did they not take any action,the PF officers also returned all the proof of the alleged irregularities that they seized,in the form of documents and account statements. Not a single rupee of Chaitanya employees PF dues was recovered and the PF Commissioners closed the matter, the FIR stated.
When allegations about the deal with Chaitanya Group surfaced,the vigilance wing of the PF Department took up investigation of the case.
The FIR states that instead of conducting a bonafide and fair investigation,the vigilance officers chose to dilute and misrepresent the case by concealing the financial irregularities and amount involved.
They recommended minor penalty against the erring officers and no action against Chaitanya Group for their alleged irregularities. The CBI is also looking at the possible role of vigilance officers at EPFO,New Delhi.