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Non-payment of PF dues: Calcutta High Court directs probe by Enforcement Directorate

The Calcutta High Court has directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to investigate the matter related to non-payment of provident fund (PF) dues to a bunch of jute mill workers by various jute companies like Delta Mills.

The order was passed by the single-judge Bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay on Thursday in a late-night hearing.

The counsel appearing for the petitioners submitted that the dues were to the tune of an average of Rs 2.5 lakh each for 10 workers, amounting to a total of around Rs 25 lakh.

Earlier on Thursday, Justice Gangopadhyay had called for the directors of the companies and directed them to be questioned by the Serious Fraud Investigation Unit (SFIO).

The counsel appearing for SFIO apprised the High Court Bench that the directors were actually sham directors, who were laborers in the company who were asked to take up a directorial role in exchange for money.

The single-judge Bench then called for DSG Dhiraj Trivedi for the national agency and asked him why the ED could not take up an investigation into the matter.

The DSG submitted that ED could only investigate scheduled offenses, and that criterion would only be met if the ingredients for Section 447 of the Companies Act, 2013, had been established and if an FIR had been lodged.

After hearing the submissions and analyzing the ingredients of Section 447 of the Companies Act, the Court noted that the same eere writ large in this case. It directed the SFIO to lodge an FIR at the local police station in order to enable the ED to begin their investigation.

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