The economic offences wing (EOW) of Uttar Pradesh Police has arrested seven accused in the UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) employees’ provident fund (PF) scam, in which Rs 4,122 crore was illegally parked with private lender Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL).
Those arrested included a senior DHFL official, a chartered accountant and the owners of bogus brokerage firms. With the new arrests yesterday, the number of those rounded up in the case has risen to 12.
While Rs 4,122 crore was invested in DHFL as unsecured term deposits by the two trusts managing the PF of the power employees between March 2017 and December 2018, about Rs 2,267 crore is still to be repaid by the company, which has been barred by the Bombay High Court from making fresh repayments.
The arrested persons are Amit Prakash, Manoj Kumar Agarwal, Vikas Chawla, Sanjay Kumar, Shyam Agarwal, Arun Jain and Pankaj Giri alias Nishu.
According to the state government, Prakash had served as the regional sales manager of DHFL in Lucknow and was responsible for empanelling firms and individuals as brokers/brokerage firms. He has been accused of criminal complicity with suspended UPPCL official P K Gupta and his son Abhinav for facilitating high-value brokerages.
Manoj Kumar Agarwal, Chawla, Sanjay Kumar, Jain and Giri had either floated bogus brokerage firms or acted as conduits for taking hefty commissions from DHFL for the term deposits made by the UPPCL trusts. Shyam Agarwal is a chartered accountant and allegedly facilitated payment of brokerages to seven different firms/individuals.
Last month, the Adityanath government had undertaken to ensure the payment of outstanding investments with DHFL, in case the tainted non-banking financial company (NBFC) failed to fulfill its commitment.
According to the UP Government Order (GO), the state would first harness legal avenues to secure the PF investment in DHFL, failing which the UPPCL would be asked to arrange funds out of its own resources to repatriate the corpus. In case, the power utility also failed to mobilise funds, the state government would offer an interest-free loan to the UPPCL to make up for the purported loss.
Meanwhile, the state has also started the process of disinvesting the PF corpus in two other NBFCs, namely, LIC Housing Finance and PNB Housing Finance, which would later be invested in other public sector financial institutions.
The 45,000-odd UPPCL employees had long been demanding the Adityanath government to issue a gazette notification undertaking to ensure repayment. DHFL is currently being probed by the enforcement directorate for money laundering.
While Rs 4,122 crore was invested in DHFL alone, PF investments were also parked in LIC Housing and PNB Housing with the investments in the three NBFCs to the tune of Rs 6,600 crore.