Form SIT to probe fake motor insurance claims, HC tells DGP

The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Director General of Police (DGP) to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) to probe exclusively complaints lodged by motor insurance companies and others regarding numerous claims made before tribunals across the State using fake documents and insurance policies.

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh insisted that experts in solving cyber crime must be included in the SIT since many false claims were being made on the basis of policies supposedly taken online. He made it clear that First Information Reports could be registered at police stations across the State and then transferred to the SIT for investigation.

Observing that the constitution of a SIT would help in coordinated investigation of all false insurance claims, the judge directed Additional Public Prosecutor M. Mohamed Riyaz to ensure that the DGP chalks out a plan of action on the basis of the directions issued by the court for constitution of a SIT and submit it before the court on March 2.

The judge ordered that if any false insurance claim petitions get withdrawn from the tribunals after the petitioners come to know about the orders passed by him for constitution of an SIT, those cases would also form part of the investigation to be conducted by the team. He directed the High Court Registry to list the case again on March 2 for passing further orders.

The interim directions were issued on a writ petition filed by Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Limited complaining about nearly 120 motor accident claims having been made against it using fake insurance policies. The court was told that already two false claimants from Namakkal had withdrawn ₹22.5 lakh.

After recording its submissions, the judge said the issue of false insurance claims gained the attention of the High Court in 2003. In 2006, a Division Bench of the High Court ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into complaints made by National Insurance Company and subsequently, the Supreme Court too dealt with similar cases.

A couple of years ago, Justice P.N. Prakash ordered implementation of a Detailed Accident Report regime through which all documents, such as FIRs regarding road accidents, were uploaded on the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) portal maintained by the State police and shared with the tribunals concerned.

The court also appointed an expert body, headed by Justice K. Chandru, a retired judge, who submitted a host of suggestions. Yet, the online mode of issuance of insurance policies had brought about yet another scam and some skewed minds had taken advantage of the jump in online transactions during the lockdown, Justice Venkatesh said.

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