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CBI books EPFO officials for shocking conduct! UAN, Password, OTPs shared with private PF consultants

On getting an input that some EPFO officials are indulging in gross misconduct, the central probe agency had carried out joint surprise check with EPFO vigilance department in regional office in Guntur during which it seized the mobile phones of some employees with their consent.

CBI books EPFO officials for shocking conduct! UAN, Password, OTPs shared with private PF consultants

New Delhi: The CBI has booked over 20 officers of EPFO in Andhra Pradesh's Guntur for allegedly receiving money through payment applications like PayTM, PhonePe and Google Pay among others from private provident fund consultants in return for performing their regular duties like claim settlements, officials said Wednesday.

On getting an input that some EPFO officials are indulging in gross misconduct, the central probe agency had carried out joint surprise check with EPFO vigilance department in regional office in Guntur during which it seized the mobile phones of some employees with their consent.

The scrutiny of their phones showed plethora of information about EPFO beneficiaries like UAN, passwords, OTPs being shared with some phone numbers of private PF consultants, they said.

Based on information, Vishakhapatnam unit of the CBI registered four FIRs against the accused officials and private persons, they said.

"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 money is unauthorisedly obtained through different mobile payment apps as PayTM, PhonePe and Google Pay etc," the FIR alleged.

The analysis of phones showed that employees were received screenshots of payments made through mobile apps after they shared UAN and respective passwords with consultants, it alleged.

"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," CBI spokesperson RC Joshi said.

In a separate case related to Rs 18 crore alleged fraud related to EPF claims in EPFO, Mumbai the CBI has conducted searches at four location in Mumbai in which Rs 13.40 lakh (approx) have been recovered in cash.

On December 30 last year, the CBI had booked several officers of EPFO Mumbai for allegedly settling fraudulent claims in 712 bogus PF accounts causing loss to the tune of Rs.18.97 crore (approx) to the EPF corpus.

"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," Joshi said. 

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