Express News Service
The Union power secretary Alok Kumar and agriculture secretary Sanjay Agarwal may soon be repatriated to their cadre state Uttar Pradesh where the CBI has sought sanction to investigate them in a Rs 2,268 crore PF scam.
Sources said that the order for their repatriation may come “any time” as the Union government does not want to face the embarrassment of having its top officers investigated for corruption. The government, therefore, wants to shift the action to the state.
The CBI has sought the sanction to probe the two officers in a case relating to illegally investing the provident fund of Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) employees in a private company Dewan Housing Finance Ltd (DHFL), which was later accused of siphoning off Rs 31,000 crore of bank loans through a web of shell companies. The UPPCL invested a total of Rs 4,122 crore in short-term fixed deposit schemes of DHFL, out of which Rs 1,854 crore was received on maturation of FDs, but Rs 2,268 crore is still not recovered.
Mr Sanjay Agarwal was UPPCL chairman from 2013 to the middle of 2017, and part of the UPPCL employees’ PF money was invested in DHFL during this period. The investment in DHFL was in violation of government guidelines that expressly said that PF money should not be invested in a financial institution that is not a scheduled bank. Mr Agarwal was succeeded in UPPCL by Mr Alok Kumar, who continued investing in DHFL. Mr Kumar remained at the helm of UPPCL for almost two years.
The case was handed over to the CBI by the Yogi Adityanath government in March 2020. Before that, the matter was investigated by the economic offences wing of Uttar Pradesh police. About a dozen people, including former managing director A P Mishra and other top officials, have been arrested so far.
Besides Mr Alok Kumar and Mr Sanjay Agarwal, the CBI has sought sanction from the Uttar Pradesh government to investigate another IAS officer Aparna U, who is at present serving as secretary in the government of Uttar Pradesh. Ms Aparna had succeeded Mr Alok Kumar as the MD, UPPCL.
As per recent changes made by the Centre in the standard operating procedure for investigating public servants, the investigating agency is required to first verify that a case is made out against a government servant before seeking sanction for proceeding against him. The CBI is, therefore, convinced these officers are prima facie involved in the PF scam.
DHFL promoters Wadhawan brothers – Dheeraj and Kapil – are already in CBI custody in the Yes Bank case.