Consultant held for siphoning off firm employees PF dues
The director of a consultancy firm managing Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for a pharmaceutical company has been arrested by Bandra police for siphoning off Rs 1.3 crore of around 500 employees.
EPF is a savings tool for the workforce and a scheme managed under the Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO). Under the scheme, an employee has to pay a certain percentage from his pay, and an equal amount is contributed by the employer.
Bandra police on Sunday arrested Archit Anil Kulkarni (32), director of Gurushree Services Pvt Ltd, for cheating, forgery, breach of trust and criminal misconduct. According to police, Entod, a pharmaceuticals firm, had outsource management of provident funds of its employees to Gurushree Services, where Archit Kulkarni and his wife are directors. Police said in June last year, Archit, who has been working with the company for several years, told the company that due to technical reasons, the state had stopped accepting PF amounts through the bank. He asked the company to deposit the PF money into his personal account. Once the services restarted, he said, he would transfer the funds. “Since June 2017, Entod has deposited a sum of Rs 1.33 crore in Archit’s account, but he did not transfer the money,” said a police officer.
Archit submitted forged receipts of the state EPF and submitted these to Entod, police said. A few months later, some Entod employees told its officials they had found no PF amount had been deposited in one year. When company officials confronted Archit, he first said the EPF website was defunct and fresh updates would not reflect on it. “Kishore Masurkar, Entod’s MD, then confronted Archit, who admitted he siphoned off the money,” an officer said.
The probe revealed that in two years, Archit had deposited Rs 3.48 lakh in the PF account. “He assured the company he’d return the money and gave some post-dated cheques of Rs 25 lakh, which were dishonoured, after which Entod lodged a cheating case,” an officer said. “Probe is on,” said Girish Anavkar, senior inspector, Bandra police.