Man Uses Cobra As Murder Weapon, Stage Own Death For Rs 37.5 Cr Insurance Claim

Pune: A 54-year-old man in Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district used a cobra as a “murder weapon” to stage his own death by killing a destitute man to claim a $5 million (Rs 37.5 crore) life insurance policy with a US-based insurance firm.

His plot failed when the insurance firm sent an investigator to make inquiries. Police arrested the accused and four of his accomplices over the past week.

According to police, Prabhakar Bhimaji Waghchaure had been living in the US for 20 years. After returning to India in January, he started living at Rajur village in Ahmednagar district. On April 22, officials at Rajur police station in Ahmednagar received a report from the local government hospital about Waghchaure’s death, The Indian Express reported.

When a police constable went to the hospital, Praveen, who said he was Waghchaure’s nephew, Praveen, identified the body.

The body was handed over to Praveen after identifying snakebite as the cause of death.

The plot began to unravel when officials from the insurance firm investigating Waghchaure’s life insurance claim contacted Ahmednagar authorities seeking more information on his death.

As part of the probe, police initially visited Waghchaure’s house in Rajur. A neighbour said she had not heard of any snakebite incident but had seen an ambulance come to the house at the time of the alleged incident. When police contacted Lahamge, he claimed that Praveen had died of Covid, the report added.

As police were unable to trace any relative of the deceased, they started looking at Waghchaure’s call records, which revealed that not only was he alive, he had posed as Praveen at the hospital. Soon afterwards, Waghchaure was placed under detention.

Ahmednagar SP Manoj Patil was quoted as saying, “The insurance claims investigator had started digging deep into the claim on Waghchaure’s death because he had fraudulently claimed the death of his wife for a life insurance claim in 2017. His wife is alive… Waghchaure and other conspirators hatched an elaborate plan. Probe has revealed that they procured a cobra from a snake rescuer. They found a destitute person, with similar looks as that of Waghchaure, and had killed him with the bite of the cobra. Waghchaure himself posed as his nephew Praveen and reported the snakebite death.”

Police have now identified the deceased as Navnath Yashwant Aanap (50), who had been living in the same area.


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