An Indian man has been accused of using a cobra snake to fake his own death in order to claim insurance money.
Prabhakar Bhimaji Waghchaure, 54, from Maharashtra, India, staged his own demise in order to get $5 million worth of life insurance money through an American insurance company.
The steps he took to go through with his plan – before going back to India in January after two decades of life in the US – involved a cobra used as a “murder weapon” to kill a poor man named Navnath Yashwant Aanap. He later posed as his own relative, Praveen, and told authorities the deceased was his nephew (Waghchaure himself).
A medical report found the cause of death to be due to a snakebite, and the body was handed over to “Praveen” (Waghchaure) for the funeral process. But the truth started coming to light after insurance firm officials investigating the case asked for additional information about Waghchaure’s death.
After Waghchaure’s home was visited by officials, a neighbor named Harshad Lahamge revealed that they never heard about the snake incident, but had seen an ambulance parking at the house at the time of the alleged poisoning. After being contacted by authorities, Lahamge claimed the man had actually died from coronavirus.
While police tried to locate Waghchaure’s relatives, they checked phone records and found that he was alive and that he had posed as his “nephew’” Praveen at the hospital.
Ahmednagar SP Manoj Patil made a statement saying:
“The insurance claims investigator had started digging deep into the claim on Waghchaure’s death because he had fraudulently claimed the death of his wife for a life insurance claim in 2017.
His wife is alive… Waghchaure and other conspirators hatched an elaborate plan. Probe has revealed that they procured a cobra from a snake rescuer.
They found a destitute person, with similar looks as that of Waghchaure, and had killed him with the bite of the cobra. Waghchaure himself posed as his nephew Praveen and reported the snakebite death.”
After the dead man’s true identity was revealed, it was found that days before staging his death, Waghchaure started living at a new address.
Two of his relatives, Sandeep Talekar and Prashant Chaudhary, were the ones who found Aanap and Lahamge, with Lahamge being able to get hold of the cobra from a snake rescuer.
On April 22 Aanap was forced to go to a secluded location by Waghchaure. And that was where snake handler Harish Kulal used the snake which fatally bit Aanap on his toe. Aanap’s body was then brought to Waghchaure’s home, at which point he called the ambulance.
Everyone involved has since been arrested, and police are also now considering taking action against the snake handler as well.
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