The Kalyan crime branch unit of Thane police arrested six people, including two Mumbai based doctors and a Thane civic-run crematorium employee, for allegedly preparing death certificates of people who were alive and claiming insurance.
The police said the mastermind, Kalyan resident Chandrakant Shinde (65), in connivance with Tejpal Mehrol, a sweeper at Thane Municipal Corporation’s Mumbra crematorium, and Dr Abdul Siddiqui (38) and Dr Imran Siddiqui (41), who issued at least 10 bogus death certificates, claimed compensation of Rs 80 lakh from two private insurance firms. They also managed to procure death certificates from the TMC of three people who live in Andhra Pradesh and sought Rs 50 lakh as payout, said the police. The others arrested were Chandrakant’s son Narayan and daughter-in-law Laxmi, who were the beneficiaries.
The police said other beneficiaries were Chandrakant’s relatives who were unaware about the insurance money claimed on their names as most of them are illiterate. Investigators are also probing the role of the insurance company officials and TMC employees.
The police said Chandrakant, who used to sell cutlery items in a local trains, started the scam in 2015 and roped in Mehrol. Explaining the modus operandi, the police said Mehrol would fill TMC forms required to get a death certificate. He would give Dr Abdul and Dr Imran Rs 2,000-Rs 10,000 to give a fake doctor’s certificate showing the cause of death as ‘natural’. Using the fake doctor’s death certificate, Mehrol would then get a death certificate from the civic health department and hand it over to Chandrakant, who would claim the money from the insurance company. Chandrakant had also claimed Rs 12.9 lakh by submitting a ‘death certificate’ of his daughter-in-law Laxmi. Narayan was the nominee in her policy, said the police.
The racket came to light when Thane resident Venkat Shinde, who is Chandrakant’s nephew, checked his life insurance policy document and found his death certificate instead. He immediately called up the insurance firm and was shocked to learn that Rs 4.8 lakh payout had already been given. He then approached the Kalyan crime branch unit. Senior inspector Sanju John formed a team under assistant police inspector Santosh Shevale, who questioned Chandrakant as he had bought the policy for Venkat. John said: “Chandrakant confessed to the crime and spilled the beans on Mehrol and the doctors.”