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Covid-19 insurance racket busted: Vadodara Police arrest fifth accused

Vadodara’s JP Road Police have arrested a fifth accused in the ongoing investigations pertaining to a racket of false insurance claims for Covid-19 admissions. While the case has been booked at Gotri police station, the investigation has been clubbed and handed over to JP Road police station, which first busted the racket last week.

On Monday, police arrested the administrator of a Covid19 empanelled hospital in Gorwa, Deepak Tiwari (24), who helped an insurance agent, Pravin Parmar, lay hands on Covid-19 test reports of positive patients and tamper with them by fraudulently changing the names of the patients on the reports to benefit claimants of the insurance company.

Tiwari’s involvement in the case was revealed during the interrogations of Parmar and Dr Anil Patel, who is the administrator of another private Covid-19 hospital in Chhani, where the police first busted the racket in January.

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 2, Dr Karanraj Vaghela told this newspaper, “Since both police stations come under the ‘D’ division of Vadodara Police, the first case was registered under JP Road police station and investigating officer Police Inspector JP Gosai is well versed with the case, we have handed over the
investigation to him. We are still probing the devices used by the accused as well as the hospitals to ascertain if they can also be booked under the Information Technology Act, as they have forged documents electronically.”

“We are also ascertaining if Dr Anil Patel, who runs the private Covid-19 empanelled hospital in Chhani, has a genuine registration from the Medical Council of India (MCI), since he has completed his MBBS in Russia,” he further said.

Vaghela added that police are yet ascertain the exact number of insurance claims made on the basis of the forged documents. “We only arrested Tiwari on Monday and will now investigate his devices, as he has emerged as the link to the whole scam. He tampered with PDFs of the reports of genuine positive patients and changed their names,” Vaghela said.

Based on the complaint filed by Dr Bijal Shah, who runs a private laboratory, Vadodara Police had initiated an investigation into the racket on January 8, which had led to the arrest of four persons. The arrested accused include a Godhra-based couple, who forged negative Covid-19 reports as positive and a trail of documents showing hospital admissions with the help of an insurance agent and a private laboratory.

A police complaint in this regard stated that the Covid-19 tests of the accused Mitesh Prajapati and his wife Jyotika conducted at Shah’s laboratory came out negative in December last year, but the couple went on to claim medical insurance from a private company.

The Godhra-based couple also forged documents to prove that they were admitted to a private hospital in Vadodara for Covid-19 treatment. They further tampered with Shah’s pathology laboratory report with the help of another private laboratory, to show they had tested positive for the virus, via an agent Pravin Parmar.

Vadodara city police had arrested the couple, Dr Anil Patel of the private hospital — where they were shown as admitted for treatment — along with Parmar and Ripal Mishra, the owner of another laboratory that helped tamper with Covid-19 reports issued by Shah’s laboratory, last week.

All accused have been booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 465 (Punishment for forgery), 467 (Forgery of valuable security), 468 (Forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (fraudulently using a document or electronic record as genuine), 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property).

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