Upping the ante against the Yogi Adityanath government on the unauthorised parking of provident fund (PF) corpus worth about Rs 4,100 crore in tainted Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL), state power employees numbering 45,000 have announced a 48 hour work boycott across Uttar Pradesh on November 18-19.
While employees and engineers with the state power utilities and distribution companies (discoms) held protests on the second day, the joint action committee demanded that the incumbent UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) chairman, who is the ex-officio chairman of the two trusts viz UP State Power Employees' Trust and the Provident Fund Trust of UPPCL, be immediately sacked and arrested.
Committee chairman Shailendra Dubey, who is also the chairman of All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF), asserted the government should undertake the responsibility of repayment of the unauthorised investment in the tainted private sector company, which is currently being probed by the enforcement directorate (ED) for money laundering and links with fugitive mobster Iqbal Mirchi.
He lamented the government was perceptibly shifting the responsibility of payment on the UPPCL, which was itself neck deep in financial doldrums of nearly Rs 85,000 crore. “The UPPCL is required to submit its annual revenue requirement (ARR) with the UP Electricity Regulatory Commission (UPERC), which leaves no scope of repaying the PF subscribers.”
Meanwhile, protests were organised across at the power utility offices and thermal power plants with powermen resorting to slogan shouting and demanding the state to ensure repayment.
Yesterday, the UP economic offences wing (EOW) had arrested former UPPCL managing director (MD) A P Mishra in connection with the scam. Mishra was the MD when the trusts had decided to park investments in high yielding financial instruments of a few private sector financial companies, including DHFL. He was the first engineering cadre official to rise to the coveted post during the most part of the previous Akhilesh Yadav regime (2012-17).
However, Mishra was replaced soon after the Adityanath government had come to power on March 19, 2017, while the investments in DHFL were made between the period of March 2017 and December 2018.
Recently, the government also replaced state energy secretary and UPPCL MD Aparna U with M Devraj.
Meanwhile, Dubey claimed the UPPCL chairman is solely responsible if the PF corpus was invested in a private company rather than a scheduled commercial bank, yet no action had been taken against the current incumbent holding the post since May 2017. He lamented the investment in DHFL were made as term deposits, which only magnified the risk involved.
On Saturday evening, while the Adityanath government recommended for a CBI probe, the police arrested two prime accused and suspended UPPCL officials, namely Praveen Kumar Gupta and Sudhanshu Dwivedi.
While, Gupta had earlier served as secretary of UP State Power Employees’ Trust and the Provident Fund Trust of UPPCL, Dwivedi was UPPCL director (finance). The investments were made by the trust entities in DHFL.
Total investment made by the two trusts amounts to nearly Rs 4,122 crore in various tranches, however, part of monies worth more than Rs 1,800 crore were repaid by the DHFL, which now leaves Rs 2,267 crore to be recouped from the beleaguered firm.