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Directors of firm held for burning down factory to claim insurance

During the investigation, police found out that the suspects had tried to set the factory on fire twice before the incident on October 28.

noida Updated: Mar 28, 2019 07:42 IST
Preety Acharya
Preety Acharya
Hindustan Times, Noida
Noida crime,SRS Meditech
The two were directors of SRS Meditech, Greater Noida, and had taken the factory on rent from SK Gupta, a resident of Delhi, since 2010. The accused had insured their machinery for Rs 70 crore

Two directors of a company have been arrested by the Surajpur police for burning down their own factory to claim insurance to the tune of Rs 70 crore. Two workers, who had helped the suspects start the fire, had lost their lives in the incident and the body of one of the deceased is yet to be recovered.

The arrested persons have been identified as Sayed Mujahir Askari, a resident of Sector 44, and Singhraj, a resident of Delta-1, Greater Noida. The duo was arrested on Wednesday acting on a tip-off. One more suspect, Kamil, is still at large.

According to the police, the two were directors of SRS Meditech, Greater Noida, and had taken the factory on rent from SK Gupta, a resident of Delhi, since 2010. The accused had insured their machinery for Rs 70 crore.

Police said the suspects burned down their factory on October 28, 2018, and had put in a claim for the Rs 70 crore from the Mumbai-based insurance company. During the investigation, police came to know that the machinery was not present on the premises when the factory went up in flames.

The suspects had stopped paying the rent to Gupta over the last few years. Police said the suspects have rental dues of around Rs 1 crore and pending electricity bills of around Rs 1.45 crore. Gupta got suspicious of the incident and lodged a complaint with the Greater Noida police.

The case was transferred to the crime branch but nothing concrete was done after which it was later transferred to the Surajpur police. Greater Noida police had faced criticism for not doing a fair investigation in the matter.

During the investigation, police found out that the suspects had tried to set the factory on fire twice before the incident on October 28.

In the previous attempts, the suspects managed to claim Rs 9 crore as insurance. The second claim of Rs 22 crore was denied by the company.

“The accused burnt the factory multiple times to claim huge sums of insurance money. On the third instance, when the factory was gutted, Gupta got suspicious and lodged a complaint. He also took the help of the Mumbai-based insurance firm to investigate the matter,” Munish Chauhan, station house officer, Surajpur, said.

During the investigation, police and Gupta’s investigation firm found out that the cause of the fire on October 28 was chemicals and not a short-circuit. “The accused had claimed that the fire started because of a short-circuit but during the investigation, it was found that chemicals were used to burn the factory. We are now trying to find out the exact dates of the previous fire incidents at SRS Meditech,” Chauhan said.

Police said two workers also lost their lives in the blaze. “They died while in the fire they helped start. The body of one worker, Noor Hasan alias Noorie, is yet to be found. The body of second worker, Mahsar Ali alias Kausar, was taken to his native place near Bareilly by the suspects and buried. Both the victims belonged to the same village,” said Chauhan. Police have launched a manhunt to nab the third suspect.

The accused have been booked under sections 420 (cheating), 341 (wrongful restraint), 436 (mischief by fire ), 504 (intentional insult), 506 (criminal intimidation), 365 (abduction), 304a (death by negligence) and 120b (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

First Published: Mar 28, 2019 07:42 IST