Madras HC Orders Probe On En Masse Withdrawal Of Accident Claim Cases
Shocked over an en masse withdrawal of 84 accident claims cases involving Rs 11.70 crore, mostly believed to be fake ones, pending before the lower courts in Hosur, the Madras High Court has ordered a probe into the matter.
A process must be undertaken to ensure that the claims were not pressed only based on instructions from the claimants. It must also be ensured that by withdrawing the claims, the parties/advocates do not escape the consequences of filing false and fabricated medical/hospital records that are said to have been obtained from a local corporate hospital in Hosur.
"In view of the seriousness of the allegations made in the present case to the effect that a total of Rs 11.70 crore was claimed in 84 cases filed based on fabricated/false medical/hospital records and a complaint was also made by the hospital to the Hosur police in 2019, which was said to have been closed as 'action dropped' and in view of the fact that the claims came to be withdrawn as not pressed subsequently, this Court wants to probe into this issue thoroughly," Justice N Anand Venkatesh said.
The Court also wanted to safeguard the interest of the genuine claimants and take action against the erring parties, officers and advocates who may be involved in this "scam," he said and impleaded the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority as a party to the proceedings to help the cause of the genuine claimants.
A report in this connection shall be filed by April 4, the judge added.
The Court was passing further interim orders on a criminal original petition from Chola Mandalam MS General Insurance Company Private Limited praying for a direction to the police to constitute a separate special investigation team (SIT) to probe fraudulent insurance claims. The judge in March last year had ordered the same and an interim SIT, headed by the Assistant Inspector General of Police, was formed exclusively to investigate the fake claims.
In his additional affidavit filed on January 24, the AIGP had submitted that there was a concerted conspiracy from the moment an accident took place. While, it was a matter of common knowledge that there were teams comprising brokers who handle such claims and there were specialised practitioners pursuing claims for compensation, the modus operandi appears to be skilled and deeply entrenched to cause serious prejudice to all important stakeholders.
There were also several instances of even 108 ambulances being driven to a private hospital, very nearly hijacked, one can say, after recording an accident register copy in a government hospital, for records.
"This has a critical and detrimental impact on trauma care, during the golden hour in the treatment of victims. There were several instances of delay and as such the State of Tamil Nadu had established a separate Tamil Nadu Accident and Emergency Care Initiative (TNAECI)) with trauma care centers on the highways. They cater to the affected with excellent infrastructure support in saving lives by providing immediate and specialized trauma care," the affidavit said.
The Judge directed the SIT to enquire the officials concerned of the TNAECI, obtain their statements and take follow-up action. The action thus taken shall form a part of the report to be filed by the police, the judge said, and posted the matter for further hearing on April 4.
(With PTI inputs)