Hiranandani Group denies 1.68 bn scam

Mumbai, Aug 4 (IANS) The Hiranandani Group, the city’s leading realty developers, Wednesday hit back at the provident fund (PF) department and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for implicating it in what it claimed were ‘manipulated allegations’.

In a statement here Wednesday – responding to Tuesday’s CBI ‘look-out notice’ against Niranjan Hiranandani and his brother Surendra Hiranandani – the company said that the PF department had in March 2008 alleged a Rs.1.68 billion (Rs.168 crore) fraud by the group.

Thereafter, the CBI summoned the company officials at least 50 times and took from them various documents totalling over 3,000 pages.

‘The investigations were carried out by the CBI when it was conclusively proved that Rs.168 crore figure was false and fabricated, only for harassing the group with ulterior means, and hence no further cognizance should be taken in the matter. We were reliably informed that the facts from our end were corroborated by the papers submitted by our company,’ the company’s spokesperson said in the statement.

He accused the PF department, upset with the wrong lead given to the CBI, of instigating the CBI to open a new angle to the case.

The PF department, which had agreed to a blunder on its part in making the ‘wrong allegation’ of cheating of Rs.168, has drawn a red herring by alleging that the Hiranandani Group did not pay the PF amount of sub-contractors between 2003-2006. This amount, suo moto calculated by the PF, came to Rs.9.35 crore (Rs.90.3 million), the spokesperson claimed.

He wondered how the PF department, which claimed Rs.168 crore in 2006 and 2008, now admits that the calculation was a mistake.

The spokesman said that not a single builder in India has ever paid the PF liability of a contractor till 2006 and it is ‘shocking that the PF department, in order to protect its mistake, is now making this allegation against Hiranandanis.’

The spokesperson said the Bombay High Court had stayed builders and contractors from paying the PF of the sub-contractors upto March 2006.

‘The Hiranandani case falls during this period,’ he pointed out.

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