‘Investigators have prima facie found that all the cases relate to filing of false compensation claims’.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has started uncovering layers of a conspiracy and money trail in an alleged multi-crore rupee scam in Odisha involving fake motor vehicle or accident insurance claim racket by launching a hunt for those involved in 34 cases. The motor insurance cases, filed to collect third-party accident claims worth Rs 5 crore from a private insurance company, were linked to 30 accident and rash driving FIRs filed across the state. The CBI is also verifying the insurance company’s allegation that the accused adopted the modus operandi involving fabricated medical documents for claiming compensation, fraudulent implantation of vehicle, claimant implantation or false implantation of the driver.
The High Court of Orissa, Cuttack, had earlier taken note of the “scale, magnitude and complexity” of the crime and directed the state police to hand over the investigation to the CBI. “The CBI is well equipped with the requisite skill to unearth the conspiracy and money trailing aspect of the crime,” said the High Court.
Sources said investigators have prima facie found that all the cases relate to filing of false compensation claim cases by claimants either under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 or under the Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923.
According to ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company, which got suspicious about the fake claim scam, most of the initial five allegedly false motor accident claims were filled in connection with accident cases registered in police stations in Baria, Keonjhar Sadar and Keonjhar Town.
In all the accidents, reported between 2015 and 2016, a driver identified as Keshab Chandra Mahanta had been arrayed as the accused. The insurance company also found that the driving licence of the accused driver was still valid instead of being cancelled, despite the fact that Mahanta had been arrested thrice within a period of one month.
The insurance company found it highly improbable that only one driver caused so many accidents within a span of 12 months which resulted in death of four persons as well as grievous and simple hurts to others which appeared to have been arranged by the Investigating Officers.
The CBI has now named Mahanta and another accused Gopinath Tumuri as suspects in its FIR registered into the alleged scandal following the High Court’s instructions.
The insurance company got suspicious after it received claim notices arising out of vehicle accidents under the jurisdictions of police stations at Baria, Keonjhar Sadar and Keonjhar Town. While all the cases are pending before the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Keonjhar, the insurer requested the High Court to defer the case of a claim filed by an accident victim identified as Debaraj Salangi, a resident of village Talakampadihi, against the vehicle owner, Sulochana Khuntia, wife of Nishikanta Khuntia and resident of Madarangajodir, and the insurance company.