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Rs 4,100-crore PF scam: UP power employees on indefinite strike from Nov 28

Memo submitted to 'mini PMO' in Varanasi, Modi's constituency

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  Lucknow 

Rs 4,100-crore PF scam: UP power employees on indefinite strike from Nov 28

Even as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Wednesday superseded the board of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL), the Uttar Pradesh power employees have announced indefinite ‘work boycott’ from November 28 against the illegal investment of their provident fund (PF) in the troubled non-banking financial company (NBFC).

While Rs 4,122 crore were invested in DHFL by the two trusts managing the PF corpus of the power employees between March 2017 and December 2018, about Rs 2,267 crore are still to be repaid by the company, which has been barred by the Bombay High Court from making fresh repayments.

Since, the investments were made by flouting norms, the Yogi Adityanath government has already recommended a CBI probe with the state economic offenses wing (EOW) probing the case till the central agency takes over.

In this backdrop, the power employees have been demanding the government to issue a gazette notification undertaking to ensure repayment of the PF corpus stuck in DHFL, which is being probed by the enforcement directorate (ED) for money laundering.

Yesterday, a delegation of UP power employees' joint action committee, representing more than 45,000 engineers and staff, had submitted a memorandum to the 'mini' PMO in Varanasi, which is the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Although, the UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) has filed a petition in the HC seeking a direction to DHFL to repay, the powerman had observed 48 hour ‘work boycott’ on November 18-19 to signal their resolve.

However, the state has not conceded to the gazette notification plea with sources claiming it was unviable since the investments were made by trusts. Therefore, the employees have now decided to intensify the stir by giving the indefinite 'work boycott' call from November 28, which would be preceded by the statewide 'mashaal' (torchlight) procession on November 27.

However, the emergency services pertaining to power generation and transmission would be spared from the boycott to ensure the state grid functions normally.

Earlier, the government had removed two senior officials after the scam came to the surface. They included UP power principal secretary and UPPCL chairman Alok Kumar and UP power secretary and UPPCL managing director Aparna U.

Five persons, including three serving and retired UPPCL officials, have also so far been arrested. Those arrested included former UPPCL managing director A P Mishra – under whose fag-end tenure, the investment in DHFL started in March 2017 and continued till December 2018. Two suspended officials viz. UPPCL general manager and PF trusts’ secretary Praveen Kumar Gupta, apart from UPPCL director (finance) Sudhanshu Dwivedi had also been arreted.

Gupta’s son Abhinav and his aide Ashish Chaudhary, the owner of an alleged bogus broking firm, were also arrested. The employees want Alok Kumar be also arrested and interrogated in the case.

First Published: Thu, November 21 2019. 18:00 IST