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Three-year RI for eight in FCI medical reimbursement scam

The principal sessions judge for CBI cases on Monday sentenced eight persons, six of them employees of Food Corporation of India and
their relatives, for three years rigorous imprisonment after they were convicted in a medical reimbursement scam. The accused, Sukumaran Nair, M Shankaran, P T Easwaran, M Anbalagan, X Arokianathan, B Gunasekaran, all working in clerical positions in FCI and their relatives S Gnanamoorthy and S Rajaram were directed to also pay fines between Rs 35,000 to Rs 55,000.

According to the prosecution, the accused forged rubber stamps of several government hospitals, prescription pads of doctors and cash bills of pharmacies to submit 187 fraudulent medical reimbursement bills in their names and those of other employees. The prosecution argued that the accused thus cheated FCI, causing wrongful loss to the organisation.

The fraud was exposed in 1988 after the company management lodged a complaint with the anti-corruption wing of CBI in Chennai. CBI found that the employees created bills for non-existent drugs for unknown diseases and forged prescriptions of non-existent doctors. "All the accused were equally involved in the case. They planned things meticulously and had a huge collection of fake rubber stamps of various hospitals," a CBI official said. They even submitted medical reimbursement bills in the names of non-existent employees using these bogus bills.

"They entered fancy amounts in bogus bills in the name of several medical shops. It was their greed that exposed them. Otherwise the fraud would have continued unnoticed," the official added.

Though the CBI filed the chargesheet in this case in 1988 itself, the trial of the case was delayed. "There were eight accused in the case and all had to appear before the court together during trial. However, they never appeared together, causing the delay. Some of them also approached courts and got stay orders, which we had to counter and get vacated," the official added.

After the trial, principal sessions judge K Naganathan held the accused responsible for the fraud. He then sentenced them to three years rigorous imprisonment. He also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on prime accused Sukumaran Nair, Rs 55,000 each on accused number two to six and Rs 35,000 on accused number seven and eight.

Source: TOI


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