A huge amount of the Employment Provident Fund (EPF) Savings was drawn out through fraudulent withdrawals at regional office in Mumbai, due to irresponsible action of the Employees Provident Fund Organization officials.
As per the sources accustomed with the development, by Wednesday about Rs. 37 Crores of those withdrawals, most of which are said to be partial withdrawal from EPF, were disclosed. The fraudulent activity also included preparation of fake claim requests against EPF accounts, while there were no new contributions made over a longer period of time. This kind of manipulation could be done if an employee is out of the country or switched to another job without consolidating his/her EPF accounts.
Four officials were suspended and an audit team of EPFO was dispatched to check and review the transaction records at the regional EPF office in Kandivali. Administrative and criminal actions are taken against the issue and efforts are being made to recover the funds.
Nearly 25 percent to 30 percent of the balances in the affected accounts were withdrawn and transferred using the NEFT banking system. The junior and clerical level officers along with social security aspirants are involved in it.
EPS office in Mumbai has tightened withdrawal processes, citing these fraud cases an advisory is issued to avoid fresh malfunction in the settlement of claims, with a concern that the similar kind of unfair practice could have been replicated in other PF offices.
Central PF Commissioner Sunil Barthwal’s office conceded an internal probe has found balances have been withdrawn from “non-existent accounts, stressing that ‘the EPF balance in the account of any member is not fraudulently withdrawn and balances of EPF members are safe’, “The Hindu” reported.
Through the internal inquiry they have learnt that some dishonest officials have entered fake credits by creating non-existent accounts which do not belong to any EPF member and had withdrawn the amount .
However, strict action has been initiated against the officials involved in the illegal operation and also required measures have been taken to recover the fund.