The story dates back to January 2003 when an LIC officer from the Katargam branch reached the house of the “deceased” for some official work. The officer was shocked to see Dr Modi alive.
In a case that dragged on for years, the Surat Chief Judicial Magistrate court, Wednesday, finally sentenced Dr Pankaj Modi (65) and his wife Meenaben (55) for cheating Life Insurance Corporation to the tune of Rs 2.01 lakh by faking his death using forged documents.
Dr Pankaj Modi was part of the panel of doctors with LIC’s Katargam branch in Surat. He had taken three LIC policies valued at Rs 75,000, Rs 50,000 and Rs. 25,000 and was paying the premium amount since 2000.
On October 2, 2002, his wife, Meena Modi, submitted an insurance claim with the branch along with her husband’s death certificate issued by Ankleshwar Nagar Palika. Also tendered were a panchnama of accident, post-mortem report and medical treatment certificate from Jayaben Modi Hospital in Ankleshwar. According to Meenaben, her husband Pankaj Modi was injured in an accident and died while undergoing treatment. Based on the reports submitted by Meenaben, LIC released the amount of Rs. 2.01 lakh.
However, three months later, an LIC officer of the same branch reached the house for some official work and was shocked to see him alive.
Realising he was the backfoot, Dr Modi confessed to his crime and returned the claim amount of Rs. 2.01 lakh along with interest. However, the Mahidharpura police arrested the couple based on a cheating complaint filed by LIC on February 23, 2006. Later, they got bail.
The couple was booked under various sections of the IPC including 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating), 465 and 120(b) (criminal conspiracy). The case went on and finally, on Wednesday, after hearing from both sides, Judge D.S Thaker convicted Modi and his wife. In his verdict, Judge Thaker noted that Dr Modi was at a responsible post and misused the trust he enjoyed.
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