EPFO files FIRs against firms for flouting norms

The regional office of the Bengaluru of Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has filed prosecution against establishments which have not complied with statutory provisions of the EPF scheme.

The action followed deduction of the members' share of provident fund contributions from the employees' wages and failing to remit the employees' contributions. The organisations have committed serious offence amounting to criminal breach of trust. The establishments against which FIRs have been filed under section 406/409 of Indian Penal Code include Ravipati Broadcasters Pvt Ltd, which has failed to remit the dues from October 2013 to June 2017, Vasan Dental Care Pvt Ltd, which has failed to remit dues from November 2016 to December 2016. Besides these, a charge sheet has been filed against the proprietor of V B Bakery under section 406/409 in Special Court of Economic Offences, Bengaluru.

Further, a prosecution case has been filed under sub-section (2-A) of section 14 of EPF & MP Act 1952 against United Spirits for hiding and non-declaration of change in ownership of the establishment by virtue of its acquisition by Diageo PLC, Lakeside Drive, Park Royal, London from United Breweries Ltd and Associated Companies as on July 14, 2014. United Spirits is an exempted establishment having 2,200 members and a corpus of approximately Rs 243 crore. 

According to condition no. 29 of para 27AA of EPF scheme, on acquisition by a new management, the trust, with all its funds, is required to be surrendered to the government. The establishment and the trustees deliberately did not report the change of management and have therefore violated condition no. 29 of Para 27AA of EPF scheme and are liable to be prosecuted. A case has therefore, been registered with the special court of Economic Offences, Bengaluru against 12 persons including three senior officials of the company and nine trustees. The process of cancellation of exemption has also been initiated against the establishment.

Maneesh Agnihotri, Regional PF Commissioner, Bengaluru Region, while confirming the development, said that if the establishments fail to comply and deposit PF dues even after repeated reminders through emails, SMSes and phone calls and continuous visits by field officers, then prosecution will be filed under section 14 of EPF & MP Act. EPFO would initiate prosecution against other chronic defaulting establishments in due course. 

Therefore, the defaulting establishments are advised to comply with the provisions of EPF & MP Act 1952 immediately and avoid initiation of legal actions, he stated in a press release.

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