Telangana Secretariat staffer kills driver, fakes death to claim insurance money

HYDERABAD: In a plot straight out of a movie with several twists, a government employee killed his driver and faked his death to claim an insurance amount of Rs 7.4 crore but ended up getting arrested.

Pathloth Dharma Naik, a 44-year-old assistant section officer at the Telangana Secretariat, was detained for allegedly killing his driver and staging a fatal crash in order to claim the insurance money. This unfolds a week after a body believed to be Nayak's was discovered in a burned-out car in the Medak district. Police located Nayak alive after tracking his call records. The accused, a Kukatpally resident and a native of Bheemla Thanda in the Tekmal mandal of Medak, devised the plot in the early months of 2022 with the help of his family members, including his wife and sister.

The police said a car was found burnt on the outskirts of Venkatapur village
in Medak district with a man’s burnt body on January 9. The police determined that the accused picked up a daily wager from Nizamabad labour adda, killed him, and then set his body on fire in order to trick the insurance company and the police into thinking that Dharma Naik died in a traffic accident and obtain the insurance money.

"Naik admitted during the investigation that he and his family came up with a plan to scout for a man who looks like him and kill him in order to collect insurance money after he became indebted for Rs 85 lakh in 2018 due to losses in his stock market investments. In accordance with their plan, he purchased 25 insurance policies totaling Rs 7.4 crore and began looking for a man near the Nampally metro station to execute their devious plot,” district police superintendent Rohini Priyadarshini said on Tuesday.

One Babu was hired from Nizamabad's labour adda. The accused shaved his head to make him look like Dharma Naik. They hit Babu over the head with an axe in the Venkatapur neighbourhood of Medak, then doused the car in kerosene
before setting it ablaze. The wife of Dharma Naik filed a complaint claiming that her husband passed away in a car accident. Naik's wife identified the body as being that of Dharma Naik during the investigation. The body was shifted for a postmortem. The police checked the CCTV footage, looked up call records and began their investigation from a different perspective. According to the police, Dharma pretended to be dead and then escaped to Indore, Madhya Pradesh, while his wife was attempting to collect the Rs 7.4 crore insurance payout.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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