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Case Studies

Naveen Bansal fake death claim: A contestable death claim where the deceased himself responded to enquiry

29th Oct, 2015

Disclaimer: The narrated article / case study is based on true incidents / happenings and the details of the investigation conducted are absolutely true and real. However, for the sake of protection of privacy and client confidentiality, the names of subjects and entities / establishments have been changed but the locations are real and accurate.

The story unfolds in the posh lanes of Salt Lake City area of Kolkata, West Bengal, India where this beneficiary Mr. Praveen Bansal eagerly awaited the proceeds of the Life Insurance Policy availed in the name of his deceased brother, the deceased Insured Mr. Naveen Bansal. The intelligent and smart investigator started the death claim investigation by first visiting the Cremation Ground and the office of the Municipal corporation form where the death certificate of the deceased Insured was issued only to be satisfied with the records that the death had actually occurred, the cremation had indeed taken place and the death certificate, a copy of which, the investigator was holding, is real and authentic. The investigator starting digging further and visited the address described to be the place of death in the Municipal records. Upon reaching this address in the Salt Lake City area, the investigator came across an interesting fact indicating towards the possibility of a fraud and bogus death claim whereby it came to light that a different family, not even remotely connected to the family of the reported deceased Insured, was living at the said address for the past three years, hence it was difficult to believe that the deceased Insured lived at this address about a month ago and died here.

The Claim investigator then visited the house of the beneficiary, who was supposed to get the proceeds of the Insurance Policy. He proceeded to the claimant’s address under advance intimation and the claimant Mr. Praveen Bansal, reportedly the brother of deceased Insured Mr. Naveen Bansal greeted the investigator warmly and the duo started the conversation by discussing the sequence of events that unfolded the death of Mr. Naveen Bansal. The investigator was told that Mr. Naveen Bansal was the elder brother of the claimant and he had a broken marriage and his wife divorced him a couple of years ago and then re-married and there was no child born out of the wedlock and the whereabouts of his former wife were not known as the couple got divorced a number of years ago. Mr. Praveen Bansal went on to suggest that the deceased Insured Mr. Naveen Bansal had estranged relations with his parents who had disowned him much before his divorce and both the parents have since then died their natural death. Proceeding with the discussion, Mr. Praveen Bansal stated that he is the only legal heir and the next of kin of the deceased Insured Mr. Naveen Bansal and even shared the policy details where is only has been shown as the beneficiary or nominee of the policy. The investigator pretended as if he has believed each and everything word which Mr. Praveen Bansal has stated and the conversation proceeded further. Mr. Praveen Bansal, stated that he is single and never married and the deceased Mr. Naveen Bansal was his only blood relative. He went on to state that on the day of death, the two brothers had travelled to a friend’s house in their Toyotal Corolla car and had dinner at the friend’s place and while returning, Mr. Naveen Bansal suffered a massive cardiac arrest and died on the spot and he was taken to the Apollo Gleneagles Hospital where the doctors declared him dead on arrival and issued the death certificate. At this point, the investigator fetched the details of the friend whom the brother visited for dinner and as expected, Mr. Praveen Bansal stated that the friend Mr. Vineet Sethi has since been travelling and his number, as provided to the investigator, remained switched off. By this time, the investigator had made up his mind that the claim in question is fake and bogus in all probability but he still chose to patiently continue conducting the investigation till the truth comes out. The investigator however parted with Mr. Praveen Bansal after getting a written statement from him under signatures along with copies of death certificate issued by the Hospital and signed by one Dr. S. Mohapatra from the Apollo Gleneagles Hospital. All the documents were true and correct and corroborated with the previously verified record from the crematorium and the Municipal Corporation office.

The investigator then moved on to the next step and reached the Apollo Gleneagles Hospital next day, only to seek a personal appointment with Dr. S.Mohapatra, with whom he could meet after great difficulty. He narrated the sequence of events to the doctor and showed him the death certificate issued under his seal and signature on his official letter head and what came next was something that the investigator expected. Dr. S. Mohapatra was taken aback at the mere sight of the document and stated that neither the signatures on the certificate were his, nor did he issue any such certificate. He further confirmed that the official letter head and his official seal had been forged. It was then that the investigator, after taking Dr. S. Mohapatra into confidence, decided to unearth the fraud. He asked Dr. S. Mohapatra to put the complaint on hold till he gets into the depth of the case and assured him that he will extend all possible assistance in getting the Police case registered and action initiated against the accused. Upon the assurance of the investigator, Dr. S. Mohapatra agreed to keep the complaint on hold and the investigator then proceeded to the last and final leg of the investigation.

The very next day, the investigator again visited the brother of the deceased Insured and confronted him with some questions which certainly made him uncomfortable. Upon being asked about the presence of people like close friends and relatives at the funeral service, he replied that the cremation of body and funeral service was attended by only two people including him and a close friend Mr. Vineet Sethi (the one who could not be contacted) and besides these two people, there was no other attendee. This made the investigator take a tough stand and he clearly expressed his dissent wherein he mentioned that he has all the reasons to suspect the authenticity of the said Insurance claim and because of this, he shall be giving a negative report and the Insurance company shall eventually deny the claim. This made the beneficiary a little nervous and he did just what the investigator wanted him to do. He wasted no time and offered a mouth watering inducement to the investigator, to which, the investigator pretentiously agreed. The duo then got comforted with each other and once the investigator was assured that the claimant has opened up to the maximum possible limit, he got him entangled into the complex discussion of words within which he gradually made a confession that he was none other than the deceased Insured himself who had staged his own death and is now acting as the brother of the deceased who is reportedly the claimant.

As decided between the duo, the two met again the next day wherein the investigator went to the address of the claimant (also the deceased Insured), but this time he did not go alone. He went along with a Police party, only to get the claimant arrested for the fraud that he had committed. At the same time, the investigator got in touch with Dr. S. Mohapatra, who personally reached the Police Station and lodged a formal criminal complaint against the said Mr. Naveen Bansal accusing him of forging his signatures and seal and for fraudulently using the official letter head of the Hospital. Dr. Mohapatra is now the formal complainant in the said matter, at whose instance, the criminal complaint has been registered and the accused has been sent to custody in prison and is currently facing trial for impersonation, forgery, criminal conspiracy, forging of documents, cheating and fraud.