CBI questions two prime accused in DHFL scam

 thehindu.com  03/25/2020 13:50:42  2

The CBI has questioned two prime accused in the 2,267 crore Employees Provident Fund scam in Uttar Pradesh wherein savings of power sector employees was invested in the Dewan Housing Finance Corporation, which is facing multiple probes of swindling funds worth 30,000 crore, officials said.

The agency questioned Pravin Kumar Gupta, former secretary of the Uttar Pradesh State Power Sector Employees Trust; and Sudhanshu Dwivedi, former director (finance) of the Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) recently.

The duo is lodged in a Lucknow prison after their arrest by the Uttar Pradesh police in November last year, they said.

Gupta and Dwivedi were named as two accused in the CBI FIR, they said.

The CBI team from the anti-corruption branch, Lucknow, which is conducting the probe had sought permission from the special court to question the duo, they said.

The recent questioning spanned through several hours, the officials said, without elaborating on the line of questioning.

Besides, the agency has already questioned at least nine more suspects who are lodged in the prison in connection with the scam, they said.

The CBI took over the investigation into the scam on March 5 this year after taking over the FIR registered by Hazratganj Police station in Lucknow, they said.

The Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL) is facing multiple probes after a report suggested that the company, through layers of shell companies, allegedly siphoned off 31,000 crore out of the total bank loan of 97,000 crore.

It is also alleged that the officials of UPPCL conspired to get the provident funds deposited in schemes of DHFL circumventing the rules which did not encourage such investments. Gupta and Dwivedi were principal decision makers who cleared investments in the deposit schemes of DHFL despite knowing it was not a scheduled commercial bank and an unsafe company.

A total of 4,122.70 crore was invested in the DHFL, out of which 2,267.90 crore is still outstanding, officials said.

UPPCL employees Provident Fund was being invested in the fixed deposits of nationalised banks till October 2016.

On a proposal of Gupta and former UPPCL managing director A.P. Mishra, the investment of funds started in PNB housing since December 2016, according to the officials.

From March 2017-December 2018, Gupta, after getting endorsement from Dwivedi, violated the Central government guidelines  that such funds should not be invested in financial institutions other than scheduled commercial banks  and invested over 50% of funds in the DHFL, the FIR stated.

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