Pune: A 54-year-old man was arrested by the police for allegedly faking his death by killing a mentally unstable man in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra with a snakebite to claim insurance money worth USD 5 million (Rs 37.5 crore) from a firm in the USA where he used to live earlier, an official said on Monday.
Police have also arrested four persons for helping the main accused in planning and executing the killing of the mentally unstable man, 50.
The accused was the holder of a life insurance policy worth over USD 5 million with a US-based insurance company.
As per reports, the man tried to fake his death using a cobra, but his plan got unravelled by the insurance company as they sent an investigator to gather the facts around his death.
Prabhakar Bhimaji Waghchaure had been living in the US for the past 20 years and has moved back to India in January this year, as per the police.
The alleged incident had occurred in Rajur village in Akole tehsil of the Ahmednagar district in April this year.
"The main accused Prabhakar Waghchoure had lived with his family in the US for the last 20 years. He had taken a life insurance worth USD 5 million from an American firm," said Manoj Patil, Superintendent of Police, Ahmednagar.
Waghchoure allegedly hatched a conspiracy to kill a mentally unstable man and involved Sandip Talekar, Harshad Lahamage, Harish Kulal, and Prashant Choudhary by promising them money.
"Waghchoure then moved to Rajur village and started living at a rented accommodation. He along with other accused procured a venomous snake and made the reptile bite the deceased. After ensuring that he is dead, they rushed him to a hospital, where they posed themselves as the kin of the deceased and registered his name as Prabhakar Waghchoure," said Mr Patil.
"They procured the death certificate and other legal documents and sent them to the USA, where his son filed for insurance. Back here, Waghchoure and others even performed the last rites of the man," the SP said.
He said the US-based firm grew suspicious as Waghchoure had tried to cheat them in the past as well.
"The firm then sent investigators to India to verify the claim and approached us," he said.
He said that during the investigation, the entire conspiracy was revealed.
"We have arrested Waghchoure from Vadodara in Gujrat. Subsequently, the other four were also arrested under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including murder," the police officer added.