Karachi: Fake car insurance claims on the rise
KARACHI: As law-enforcers and investigators seek to trace car thieves, they find a rising number of cases based on false information provided to them by complainants trying to hoodwink insurance companies and get exemption in instalments of leased vehicles.
Describing such cases registered with mala fide intentions as a ‘white-collar crime’, the investigators say the offence remains unchecked and no arrest has so far been made.
Figures compiled by police authorities suggest that some 80 cases registered by different police stations across the city were proved to have been lodged on false information about theft and snatching during the last six months.
Out of the 80 vehicles, mostly new cars, 73 were neither snatched nor taken away, said a source, citing data gathered by the Anti-Car Lifting Cell (ACLC). “The complainants were found to be lying during the course of investigations.”
He said seven cases were reported by different police stations where law-enforcers thwarted attempts of registering FIR based on false information. The police also recovered in Balochistan vehicles reported to have been taken away in Karachi, he added.
“But police found that the vehicles reported taken away and later recovered have actually been sold out by the complainants to avoid paying instalments to the leasing companies and get extra benefits through acquiring the insurance amount based on the FIRs,” he said.
Interestingly, the police authorities despite making such confessions find themselves powerless to charge complainants who use legal cover to cheat leasing companies.
“We promptly intimate the insurance and leasing companies concerned not to accept claims against the FIRs which are actually based on false information,” said SSP Khurram Waris at the ACLC.
“This is the best we can do to prevent such institutions from losses for the incidents which never actually happened. In a few cases, we were successful to some extent,” he added.
The official agreed that some of the complainants confessed but no arrest had been made due to lack of regulations on this particular crime, giving discretionary powers to magistrates to charge such people.
“We processed such cases several times but didn’t get the desired results during the process. There should be strict regulations to charge such people, which can help curbing such methods of committing crimes,” the SSP added.
A source said the particular crime involved individuals, car dealers and rentals, while a few gangs were also found involved, as the trend appeared safe with minimum risk of arrest.
“They get a brand new car financed from a leasing company and then sell it out to people mainly in coastal cities of Balochistan, where a proper check on the documentation of vehicles is not in place,” he added.
He said such cases were tried under Section 182 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), which defines false information with intent to cause public servant to use his lawful power to the injury of another person.
“The PPC section doesn’t impose a heavy fine and punishment for the offender, which encourages such trend to continue without any fear of law,” added the source.
He agreed that unchecked financing facility without going through individuals’ personal record and earning means had provided absolutely a new medium of crime, which had not drawn attention of the authorities concerned so far.
Car theft and snatching has recorded a steep rise during the last few years. The figures suggest that the illegal business thrived during the tenure of the last government, as a total of 15,243 vehicles were stolen or snatched at gunpoint from January 2003 when the previous government took charge to November 2007 when the caretaker set-up was put in place after the dissolution of the provincial assembly.
The complete article can be found at Dawn News.