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Indian accused of fraud in Australia

india Updated: Dec 20, 2006 14:42 IST

An Indian businessman in Australia accused of faking his mother's death to claim a $1 million insurance policy may not be extradited to the country until cleared by the Indian police.

Pavan Shivnani, 35, of East Perth and the former chief of grain trader Australian Foods Company, is alleged to have taken out a life insurance policy on his mother's behalf with Norwich Union Australia in 2003, naming himself as the beneficiary.

Investigators claim that both Pavan and his wife Kanchan Shivnani, 31, who is also a co-accused in the case, obtained a fake death certificate from a doctor in India in 2004 and faxed the insurance company to cash in the policy.

But an inquiry by the insurance firm found that Pavan's mother was alive, reported the Australian newspaper.

Kanchan appeared in Perth District Court on Tuesday, and will apply in February to get her charges heard separately from her husband, who is presently in India.

Pavan is facing a police case in India resulting from a traffic accident and has had his passport confiscated.

"My client is facing charges over a serious traffic crash in India. He is also being sued over a business debt incurred in India," Pavan's lawyer Paul Meyer said.

"The director of public prosecutions is trying to get extradition proceedings in place but it could take another year," Meyer said.

Pavan is facing a further fraud charge over allegations he defrauded the Commonwealth Bank in 2003 by using false documents to obtain more than $450,000.

The finance related to an Australian Foods order with a Taiwan company for a barley shipment.

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