MUMBAI: The CBI has issued alert notices against two directors of Hiranandani Group, Niranjan and Surendra Hiranandani, after they failed to turn up for recording their statements in connection with an alleged Rs 9-crore provident fund scam involving the company.

The Hiranandani Group is an established real estate firm and has projects in the country as well as abroad.

In the notice, all airports have been alerted about the two and have been asked to handed them over to the CBI if spotted. CBI DIG Pravin Salunkhe said the notices were issued eight days ago. “They are not at their residences and their families are claiming ignorance about their whereabouts. Their mobile numbers are also switched off. In such a situation, we had no other option,” he added.

According to Salunkhe, the CBI wanted to question them in connection with the scam but they have been avoiding for a long time. Niranjan and Surendra have been named as accused in an FIR lodged by CBI on March 29, 2008 for an alleged fraud in provident fund deposits.

According to the CBI, the group had not deposited the provident fund of their employees in 2003-04. The amount is Rs 9.36 crore, according to the report filed by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) in its departmental enquiry. Two other employees of the group and four officials from the EPFO have also been named as accused.

Hiranandani hits back

The Hiranandani brothers today hit back at the government for having involved their company in a provident fund irregularity. The CBI has issued look-out notices at airports for Niranjan and Surinder Hiranandani on Tuesday. According to a press release issued by the Hiranandani Group, the PF department had given a wrong lead to the CBI which has instigated the CBI to open a new angle to the case.

The offices of Hiranandani Group were raided by the CBI in March 2008 based on the information given by the Provident Fund Department that there was a PF fraud then by the Hiranandani Group of an amount of Rs168-crore.

The company was summoned by the investigation officers from time to time in the two years.

The investigations were carried out by the CBI when it was conclusively proved that the figure of Rs168-crore was false and fabricated only for harassing the Group.

The PF department obviously, the company said, being upset with the wrong lead given to the CBI have instigated the CBI to open a new angle to the case. “They have agreed that there was a blunder on their part to make the wrong allegation about the Rs168-crore of cheating and hence has drawn a red herring by alleging that in the years 2003 to 2006 the Hiranandani Group did not pay the amount of Provident Fund of the sub-contractors which on a suo moto calculation by the PF department came to be Rs9.36 crore”, said company sources.

The Group further alleged, that not a single builder in India has ever paid the provident fund liability of a contractor till 2006 and “it is shocking that the PF department in order to protect its mistake is now making this allegation against Hiranandanis”.

The sources also further alleged that, it is also a fact that the Nagpur Branch of the Bombay High Court had put a stay to the builders and contractors from paying the provident fund of the subcontractors up to March 2006. The Hiranandani case falls during this period.