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Punjab-origin man jailed for claiming inflated medical compensation in UK

Atwal alleged negligent treatment that left him unemployed and dependent, and claimed compensation.

world Updated: Jun 02, 2018 22:13 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Sandip Singh Atwal(HT Photo)

Sandip Singh Atwal, a disc jockey (DJ) who exaggerated the effect of his relatively minor injuries in a bid to defraud the National Health Service (NHS) of £800,000 (₹7.15 crore) has been jailed for three months. He has also been asked to pay £75,000 (₹67 lakh) in legal costs.

Sentencing him on Friday in the high court, justice Spencer said 14 allegations of contempt had been proved against Atwal, who claimed compensation for loss of past and future earnings and personal care that the judge called “dishonest exaggeration”.

After being injured in an assault in June 2008, Atwal went to the Calderdale and Huddersfield Hospital in west Yorkshire, where he was treated for fractures to his index finger on his right hand and the ring finger of his left hand, and a laceration to his lower lip.

Atwal alleged negligent treatment that left him unemployed and dependent, and claimed compensation. The hospital admitted negligence and offered £30,000 (around ₹26 lakh) which the judge said was a generous offer.

However, Atwal sought £837,000 (around ₹7.48 crore) and as the case continued in courts, he was filmed lifting heavy objects and performing as a DJ, belying his claim of disability due to the treatment and loss in employment suffered due to it.

When the fraud was uncovered, Atwal agreed to accept the initial offer of £30,000, but the NHS hospital strongly defended its position in courts.

Judge Spencer said: “(You) pursued a dishonestly aggravated claim, and by November 2014 when your schedule of loss and damage was served, the claim was pleaded at over £837,000. Those claims were based upon what you were falsely telling the medical and care experts.”

“The depths of your deception were revealed by covert video surveillance in October 2015, which proved that you were perfectly able to work, to drive, to lift and to carry, activities which you were still claiming not to be able to manage,” the judgment added.

The sentence in the widely reported case includes then provision that Atwal would be released after serving half of the sentence.

First Published: Jun 02, 2018 22:13 IST