A bizarre tale of Bajaj Allianz’s efforts to catch a fraudster depicts the difficulties during the chase. The story ends with a twist of finding that the offender was actually trying to defraud 11 other insurers. He had seven PAN cards and seven names
A long chase to nab an offender would be a normal course of work for a policeman, but it sounds strange for an employee of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. This is precisely what happened with Sandeep Sarpande, assistant manager—corporate legal, who joined two policemen, from the Vimantal Police Station in Pune, and embarked on an arduous journey to nab the offender. They started at around 5am on a sunny morning for Mumbai, where the offender was residing. While the constables were tuned to the FM radio blaring in the vehicle, Sandeep was reminiscing as to how the crook could do everything so perfectly!
The crook had a Bajaj Allianz health policy and lodged a claim for reimbursement of his hospital expenses, where he was admitted for fever. When the Health Administration Team (HAT) claim team received the documents, they were a bit surprised at the claim amount of Rs55,000 for a simple fever! They scrutinised the claim documents and found that everything was perfect!
The inconsistency of the huge amount and a perfect documentation set the alarm bells ringing. The scrutiniser referred the case to their in-house fraud control team at HAT. The team investigated and checked with the hospital to ascertain the treatment costs and the medical protocol. To their astonishment, they found that the claimant was not admitted in that hospital though the documents provided were from the hospital.
After a thorough investigation, the hospital gave it in writing that the claimant was never admitted nor was given any consultation. When they probed a bit more, they came to the conclusion that the claim documents were forged. They confronted the offender on phone and he said that the documents were genuine. It was then decided by the legal team that an FIR be lodged at a police station against the claimant. Once the FIR was lodged at Vimantal police station in Pune, the next step was to arrest the offender and take it to the logical conclusion.
The vehicle suddenly came to a halt and jolted Sandeep. He realised that they had reached Bhayander, a distant suburb of Mumbai. As per the policy records the offender was residing in Bhayander. When they reached the flat they found it locked. They checked with their neighbour and were shocked to hear that nobody stayed in the flat by the claimant's name.
The police team then asked as to who owned the flat and the neighbour promptly provided the owner's contact details and the address where he stayed. Luckily, it was not far away but a 10km drive from where they were. When they reached the owners place they were in for another shock as he said that he has not rented his flat to someone by the claimant's name.
Sandeep and the police constables then gave a description of the claimant. Based on the description, he gave the leave and license agreement which led to the claimant's actual name and photograph. The agreement also revealed that he was employed in a franchisee outlet of a leading telecom operator. Their next location was the franchisee outlet in Malad, a sprawling suburb of Mumbai. But this too yielded no result. With no clues about the offender’s whereabouts, Sandeep was back to square one.
The police constables seemed to lose interest and it was already late in the evening. But, Sandeep was determined to nab this guy and motivated the constables by saying that by coming so far they should not return empty-handed. They once again returned to the franchisee outlet and again enquired about the offender. After a lot of persuasion, one of
Update from Bajaj Allianz
1. The concerned offender was in Police custody for 12 days and judicial custody for 20-25 days. He was produced at the Magistrate Court at Pune. Currently, he is out on bail and the hearing is going on.
2. We have filed a case only for forgery and defrauding Bajaj Allianz. In the charge sheet, the case of multiple identities and PAN cards, along with other forgery offences are included.
his colleagues who happened to visit the outlet informed that the offender very much stayed in Bhayander but not at the address as per the policy records, but at a place which is a good 30-40km from there. They immediately took off for this new location, with great hope.
When they reached there, the wife of the offender panicked at the sight of police authorities and informed that he hasn't reached home yet. The police authorities knew that she was terrified comforted her by saying that they were just enquiring. After waiting for an hour or so, the offender finally reached his home much to the relief of the anxious police constables. They held him and started enquiring about his forgery attempts and when they started the interrogation in their true police style. He quickly spilled the beans and revealed that he had similar forged claims to over 11 other insurers and was in various stages of claim processing.
They were amazed to find that he had reams of letterheads, rubber stamps and other stationery items of various hospitals at his place. But the most amazing thing was that he had seven PAN cards, 11 credit cards and above all seven names!
They arrested him immediately and when Sandeep glanced at his watch it was 11.45pm. Armed with their prized catch, they started their return journey and reached Pune at the crack of dawn at 3.30am. The offender was first taken to Sasson Hospital for a detailed health check-up as it is mandatory and finally put him in the police custody.
After finishing all the required paperwork and related process, Sandeep reached home at 9 am and crashed into bed. After 28-hours and a 700km chase they were finally able to nab the offender.
The police authorities produced the offender in the Pune court the same day. He is currently out on bail. The case is still being pursued by Sandeep who keeps a tab on the proceedings on a regular basis. He wants the offender to be punished which will serve as a lesson for other offenders.
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