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Convict Sujit Sinha was caught accepting R5,000 for early processing of a request for withdrawal of provident fund in 2014

6 years on, EPFO official gets 4 years for bribery

Sinha initially demanded a bribe of Rs 7,000 but later brought it down to Rs 5,000

Six years after he was caught accepting a bribe of Rs.5,000, an official from the Employees Provident Fund Organisation has been convicted and sentenced to four years’ rigorous imprisonment. Special CBI Judge AS Sayyad also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on Sujit Sinha who worked as a security assistant at EPFO.

As per the CBI’s case, the complainant was Gajanan Athawale, the employee of a private firm in Andheri. After his company shut down in 2014, Athawale sent by post Forms 19 and 10C to the Provident Fund Commissioner in May 2015 for withdrawal of his provident fund, but his request got rejected.

The next month, Athawale couriered Form No.31 to the PF office for part-withdrawal of his accrual which too was rejected. In September of that year, he again submitted Form 19 and 10C to the PF Commissioner, Kandivli, for full withdrawal. He was unsuccessful once again.

As per the CBI, Sinha had informed the complainant over the phone that his Form 31 was required to be signed and stamped by the company where he was working. But the manager of the company told Athawale that his Form 31 submitted earlier to the PF office had reached them for verification and they would send it with the stamp and the required signatures.

When Athawale informed Sinha that his Form 31 was waiting to be stamped at his company, the EPFO official asked him to reach the Kandivli PF office. On October 13, 2015, when Athawale met Sinha, the official demanded Rs. 7,000 for early processing of his PF withdrawal. After negotiation, he reduced the amount to Rs 5,000.

Athawale then alerted the CBI’s anti-corruption wing and Sinha was caught red-handed accepting the money from Athawale to clear his PF dues.

During the trial, Special Public Prosecutor Sandeep Singh cited digital evidence as well as 11 witnesses against the accused. The court then held Sinha guilty of corruption. “The accused is convicted for the offence punishable under section 13(2) r/w 13(1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 and sentenced to undergo Rigorous Imprisonment for 4 [Four] years and fine Rs 5,000 [Rupees Five Thousand Only], in default thereof he shall undergo Simple Imprisonment for 6 [Six] months,” the court said in its order.

11 No. of witnesses who testified against Sinha

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