Thiruvananthapuram: A number of police officers in Kerala receive big amounts as bribes for aiding the multi-crore racket engaged in swindling insurance firms by faking motor accidents, says a report of the Special Branch submitted to the state police chief.
According to the report, ‘rates’ paid to these officers - who are attached to various police stations across Kerala - for carrying out proper as well as improper measures related to road mishaps are as follows:
Registration of a road accident case: Rs 5,000. (Extra amount will have to be paid for charging Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to receive insurance claim in accidents involving vehicles lacking proper documents)
To hand over the final report to the advocate before it is submitted before the court: Rs 7,000-10,000.
To change IPC Section 337 to 338: Up to Rs 20,000 (While Section 337 is charged for minor injuries such as broken finger caused by careless driving, Section 338 is invoked for serious injuries such as major bone fractures)
No action so far
Even though the report was submitted to the state police chief a year ago, no action has been taken till now.
In normal cases, a police case is not registered in a road accident if nobody is injured. Instead, the accident is noted in the general diary of the police station concerned, which is sufficient to receive the insurance claim. However, in case the vehicle or the driver involved in the accident does not have the proper documents, a bribe has to be paid to the officers at the police station to make the necessary corrections.
In case those involved in an accident insist on registering a case, officers at the police station would give them the mobile numbers of an advocate or middleman.
When this advocate is handed over the case, the vehicle, as well as the accident spot, is altered suitably. In fact, more IPC sections are added during the spot inspection after registering the first information report (FIR).
A specific amount is charged as a bribe for adding each IPC section and the rate varies according to the age and employment of the injured person.
Incidentally, many employees of insurance companies are part of the racket. Recently, a final report in an accident case was submitted by a police station in Thiruvananathapuram in a mere 19 days.
Culprits roam free
Earlier, road accident cases were filed only in Traffic Police stations. But when widespread irregularities were reported, the government allowed all police stations to handle these cases.
However, the corrupt police officers at Traffic Police stations who were part of the insurance racket used their influence to shift to regular police stations and continued their illegal activities.
According to the Intelligence Department, a Grade Sub-Inspector who worked at Traffic Police Station, Thiruvananthapuram City in 2017 later continued to support the racket at Vattiyoorkavu, Museum and Poojappura police stations – all in the city.
Voice clip submitted
A report by the Special Branch submitted to the District Police Chief in Thiruvananthapuram had a list of police officers regularly handling accident cases at various stations in the district.
As proof of the racket, the report included a voice clip of a phone conversation between a police officer at Pothencode station and an advocate who conducted motor accident cases only in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi.
However, the District Police Chief could not take any action against the officer following pressure from the police association.