CBI probes ICICI Lombard for alleged fraud2 min read . Updated: 12 Mar 2014, 10:43 PM IST
The insurance company is being accused of colluding with Rajasthan and Union agriculture ministries to pocket claims of non-existing farmers and artisans
New Delhi: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against ICICI Lombard General Insurance Ltd for allegedly colluding with officials of Rajasthan government and Union agriculture and textiles ministries and pocketing claims of non-existing farmers and artisans.
In the first case, CBI registered a preliminary enquiry against unknown officials of ICICI Lombard, Rajasthan and Union agriculture ministries for allegedly entering into a criminal conspiracy and forging documents to seek insurance cover under the “weather-based crop insurance scheme" by the government, said official sources.
According to the scheme, ICICI Lombard used to insure crops in which the farmer had to pay 20% of the sum of the premium whereas remaining 80% of money was shared by Rajasthan agriculture department and Union agriculture ministry.
The CBI alleged that officials of the insurance company made “bogus enrolment" of nearly 2,100 farmers to secure 80% share of government thereby causing loss to the exchequer, the sources said. Officials said this was a data of only Ganganagar district for a period of 2009-10 and the agency would be carrying out similar probes in other districts and states where ICICI Lombard was undertaking this scheme.
When contacted, the company said that it has diligently honoured claims in the schemes despite suffering huge financial losses. “The company, during or after enrolment of beneficiaries, had initiated investigation on its own, through its in-house investigation function as part of its continuous monitoring process."
“Wherever any discrepancy was observed, the company on its own approached the concerned government body, sought necessary advice and promptly acted upon the advise so received," the company said in a statement.
Another case pertained to “Rajiv Gandhi Shilpi Swathya Bima Yojna" (RGSSBY) in which it was alleged that 11,000 artisans registered under the scheme were non-existent, the sources said. Both the cases were registered after a thorough internal probe carried out by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA).
On its part, ICICI Lombard said in a statement: “far exceeding the premiums received in the said schemes resulting in financial losses. As part of its continuous monitoring approach, the company during or after enrolment of beneficiaries, had initiated investigation on its own, through its in-house investigation function. Wherever any discrepancy was observed, the company on its own approached the concerned government body, sought necessary advise and promptly acted upon the advise so received. The company has also adhered to the policy guidelines and abided by the directives/ suggestions of relevant authorities."