Mumbai police has
registered an FIR against an official of
the National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) for allegedly siphoning off
money collected in the name of provident fund, social allowance and welfare
funds from the salaries of 1.6 lakh Indian seafarers working on foreign ships.
Instead of spending the money on sailors’ welfare, the
accused allegedly used it for personal gain. The union is also accused of depositing welfare and provident
funds of seafarers with a private trust and not with the government of India,
the police complaint stated.
secretary of the Union and others have been booked in Rs 10 crore cheating
case, the police was quoted by local media reports.
The fraud amount may increase as the investigation
According to the
police complaint, foreign shipping companies hire Indian seamen via manning
agents to work on their ships. NUSI, which has an office in Ballard Estate, is
associated with International Transport Workers Federation (ITF). The seafarers
who work on cargo ships get their salaries as per the rules laid down by ITF
and International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) and the deduction from
their salaries is done as per the laws of their respective countries.
As per the FIR,
the office bearers of NUSI for the past many years allegedly deducted
Rs 2,500 as provident fund, social
allowance and welfare funds from the salary of 1.6 lakh Indian seafarers
working on foreign ships by violating various rules and regulations.
The police complaint alleged that the accused siphoned
off the money by keeping the thousands of seafarers in dark.
deducting Rs2,500 per month from the salaries of seafarers under the
pretext of social allowance and was depositing the same with the NUSI-ITF
Trust, which as per the complaint, is a private trust established by NUSI.
deducts 48 US dollars from the salaries of seafarers under the name of training
support, employment promotion fund and NUSI welfare scheme. But it is seen that
this money was also siphoned off by the accused
The police have registered the case after carrying out a
preliminary inquiry and finding substantial material to lodge a criminal case
in the matter.