People lose limbs for insurance money they never get

SANJAY SHARMA, INDO-ASIAN NEWS SERVICE, JULY 12, 2006
Jabalpur, July 12 (IANS) A racket involving doctors, lawyers and cops who conned people into losing their limbs by promising them insurance money has surfaced in Madhya Pradesh.
According to the police, about a dozen people who were victimised by the ‘gang’ have been identified.
Bhoura Prajapati, 35, was undergoing treatment for a leg allergy at the government hospital in Jabalpur, about 300 km from state capital Bhopal, when he was approached by a person who advised him to go to a private hospital.
Prajapati was also told that he would get Rs.10,000 from the government if he complained that an unidentified vehicle had hit him.
‘When they came to me and told me about better treatment and compensation money from the government, I thought it was a godsend opportunity. Now I realise that I was trapped,’ said a despondent Prajapati.
‘I was taken to the private hospital for treatment and given an injection at night. When I woke up in the morning I saw my leg had been amputated. The private hospital is also part of the fraud,’ he claimed.
Informed sources said people involved in the racket used to get in touch with those undergoing treatment in government hospitals, befriend them and then advise them to go in for supposedly better treatment for which they would pay.
Once a person agreed to opt for treatment at a private facility, he was admitted and asked to sign a complaint that he had been hit by an unknown vehicle. People were told this was necessary so as to get compensation from the insurance firm.
Policemen involved in the scam would then act with uncharacteristic alacrity, finding the unidentified vehicle with promptness because it actually belonged to one of the gang members. Now a third party claim was put up with the insurance company with a lawyer’s help.
The claim money obtained was shared among the culprits, leaving the victim to fend for himself.
Another victim, Sarwan, 48, too said he was lured by the promise of better treatment and compensation amount. He too fell into the trap and had to pay with his right leg.
In all, eight such cases have come to light, police sources said.
Insurance company officials said that they investigate thoroughly before a claim is settled but pointed out that claimants often challenged ‘unfavourable’ decision in court and succeed in getting orders in their favour on the basis of the ‘managed’ legal and medical documents.
‘If the medical and legal documents are complete and approved by the court, we have no option but to pay,’ said R.S. Vaidyanath, divisional manager of Oriental Insurance Co.
Jabalpur Bar Association president R.K. Singh Saini admitted that a few lawyers were involved in the scam.
‘Notices have been sent to these lawyers and strict action will be taken if they fail to submit a satisfactory reply,’ Saini told IANS.

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