The wife of an Indian businessman who was jailed for faking his own death in India to claim more than a million pounds in life insurance claims that he was forced into the scam by Afghan gangsters holding him to ransom.
Anju Kumar told the Evening Standard that her husband Sanjay had orchestrated the elaborate hoax, which included obtaining a fake death certificate and a certificate saying he had been cremated, to “protect his family”.
Sanjay Kumar, 46, was jailed for two-and-a-half years on Tuesday for the fraud.
He had travelled to India on a business trip in November 2011. Days later his wife told his five of his insurers that her husband had died of a “brain fever” and made a claim for more than £1.1 million insurance.
The insurers however, became suspicious and sent investigators out to Delhi to make inquiries, finding that Mr Kumar had merely been hospitalized for a day with a stomach bug.
Mrs Kumar told the standard that she was sorry for the hoax but insisted that her husband was merely acting to protect her and the couple’s three children. ,
“What would you do if a gun was being held to your head? It was three men from Afghanistan, due to a sour business deal with my husband’s business partner. Instead of going for him, they must have seen our house and thought we were the easy target.
“They were asking for a huge ransom. Our three cars were smashed outside our house and my tyres slashed. They told us they’d kidnap us. Police were called seven or eight times … but all they did was take a crime reference.”
Southwark Crown Court heard that Mr Kumar had been in serious debt after helming a series of failed businesses since the early 1990’s.
The couple had had to remortgage their million-pound home in Watford, Hertfordshire twice and had “virtually no equity” in the property.
Days after his alleged death in Delhi, Mrs Kumar transferred £1,500 to her husband, which he in turn used to travel around North India.
After the insurance company expressed their reservations – one insurer made an initial payment of £10,000 before calling in the police – Mr Kumar flew back to London under an assumed name before being arrested by the Insurance Fraud team of the City of London police.