In a scene straight out of a film, a policy holder with the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has claimed that he was paid survival benefit only after he threatened to commit suicide in the branch manager's cabin, here in Barnala, on Friday.
Singh, a street vendor dealing in scrap, has alleged harassment by officials for over two months, though he did have to complete certain formalities due to a change in name.
"I was being asked to visit repeatedly. For each of my visits, I was forced to forego my wages.
Sometimes, I was told to visit after a week. This line was also repeated by the branch manager. I lost my cool and asked one of my cousins to bring petrol to self-immolate."
He claimed that even as he was aware that threatening suicide was wrong, he was forced to do so by the LIC.
Singh's friend, Amandeep Garg, an advocate, claimed, "The cheque is dated January 24. It clearly shows that LIC officials were holding the cheque deliberately. If a policy holder delays premium payment even by a day, LIC charges interest for the entire month."
Branch manager Sunil Kumar Verma said, "The policy holder approached me for the first time on Friday. I cannot comment on whether or not he visited my subordinates. On January 24, we issued 1,200 cheques. It takes times to sign and validate so many cheques."