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Faking 'death' to get relief in U'khand

Gautam Dheer, Dehradun, July 2, 2013, DHNS: 1:50 IST
Residents walk beside the wreckage of vehicles in Sonprayag in Uttarakhand on Tuesday. AFP
The authorities at Uttarakhand are at a loss over the number of false cases that are now surfacing to usurp lakhs of rupees that are to be given as compensation to the next of the kin.

In one such case, a person approached the Dehradun Police faking the death of his parents who had in fact died three years ago. In a bid to grab the compensation of Rs 5 lakh per person that the government has announced for all those who have died in the rampaging floods, the person claimed that his parents had gone to Hemkund Sahib on a pilgrimage and did not return.

In another case that has come to fore, a migrant who works as a daily wager sent his wife and child to their native village in Bihar and later approached the police claiming that they had died in the devastation. Another case that surfaced a few days ago was when a women clad in veil walked into a police station in Rishikesh claiming that her six children, who were a part of a group that was visiting areas, have gone missing.

On investigation, the claim turned out to be entirely false. Incidents like these and more have become a matter of concern for the authorities. Officials say they stare at a serious problem of claim settlement given that the number of such fraud cases are swelling. The tricky part is still there are an officially estimated 3,000 people who are still missing in the hills. Hundreds of bodies could still be lying trapped under the debris, especially near the shrine complex in Kedarnath.

The statements of the “next of kin” followed by some police investigation will be the determining factor to decide compensation claims given the fact that several bodies may never be recovered for any DNA sampling or verification. In the case of the man who faked his parents death for claiming money, the police just accidently stumbled upon unraveling the truth.

According to Dehradun Police sources, the accused person even staked claim on unidentified decomposed bodies that were found in the Ganga waters in Haridwar, saying they were his dead parents.

The police, which even started official formalities to register the claim only to discontinue it eventually, discovered the truth once they decided in all prudence to send a team to the house of the person to verify the veracity of his claim.

The police were shocked after the wife at home, who was ignorant of her husbands misdemeanors said that the parents died three years ago and none from the house had gone on any pilgrimage. The accused is still at large.

FinMin team to visit state

A team of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank officials led by a senior Finance Ministry official will visit the flood-ravaged Uttarakhand to assess the damage and the cost of its reconstruction after the recent tragedy, reports DHNS from New Delhi.

The task of reconstruction and rebuilding the infrastructure will require huge quantum of funds, the Finance Ministry said.

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