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CBI books Mumbai realtor for provident fund scam

Mumbai, Oct 19 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Tuesday said it had filed a charge sheet against realtor Hiranandani brothers and 26 others in connection with a Rs.94 million employees provident fund evasion case.

According to CBI’s Deputy Inspector-General of Police Praveen Salunkhe, those named in the charge sheet include Niranjan Hiranandani and his brother Surendra Hiranandani, both directors in the Hiranandani Group.

The charge sheet, filed in a designated court, also names other employees of the group, retired and serving officials of the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and contractors working for the construction group.

The charge sheet comes in a case registered by the CBI March 29, 2008 against top officials of the EPFO, Bandra, including the then regional provident fund commissioner K.S. Arya, who has retired.

Another provident fund commissioner M.R. Yadav, who has retired, and assistants Rajnikant and K. Gopalan have also been named in the charge sheet.

The CBI said that the accused conspired with criminal intentions to prepare fraudulent EPF details of five group companies — Hiranandani Properties Pvt Ltd, Hiranandani Developers Pvt Ltd, Hiranandani Constructions Pvt Ltd, Roma Builders Pvt Ltd and Lake Meadow Hotels and Resorts Pvt Ltd — although the provident fund contributions were not paid by them.

The government employees and the builders cheated the exchequer to get undue financial benefits running into crores of rupees, the CBI said.

The EPFO officers had earlier investigated the case and detected default on provident fund payments to the tune of Rs.84 million by the five companies in the financial year 2004-2005, the CBI said.

The investigators also seized records from the offices of the EPFO, Hirandanani Group and their 18 contractors.

They included false wage records of site workers prepared by the Hiranandani brothers and their officers in conspiracy with labour contractors to evade paying the provident fund dues.

Experts from the EPFO assessed the records and submitted that the Hiranandani Group had to pay provident fund dues to the tune of nearly Rs.94 million, the CBI said.

In August this year, the CBI issued a look-out notice for the Hiranandani brothers for their involvement in the same scam, after they failed to respond to summons to appear before it for investigations.

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