Man kills friend to fake his death, pocket Rs 1-crore life insurance payout in TN

Ironically, the insurance claim was rejected as the police had registered the death as a suicide case.
Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustrations)
Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustrations)

CHENNAI: The Chengalpattu police on Monday arrested a 38-year-old man who, along with his friends, allegedly murdered another friend and set fire to the body in an attempt to fake his death and claim his life insurance money of Rs 1 crore. Police said Suresh and two others combed through several others to determine whose body they could pass off as Suresh’s own before narrowing down on Dillibabu (38).

Ironically, the insurance claim was rejected as the police had registered the death as a suicide case. The incident came to light following a habeas corpus petition filed before the Madras High Court by Dillibabu’s parents.

Suresh, 38, was a gym trainer from Ayanavaram, and his friends Hari Krishnan, 32, and Keerthi Rajan, 30, are from Vellore and Mambakkam, respectively. The deceased Dillibabu was working in a private company in Chennai.

Dillibabu and his family had lived in a portion of Suresh’s house as tenants about 10 years ago. Suresh had an insurance policy of Rs 1 crore for which he had already paid a premium for a few years. Since he needed money, he set off on a plan to obtain a body that was of the same height and build as his own, to fake his death, according to the police.

Dillibabu’s body dug up in tahsildar presence, sent to forensic lab

“They had to get a body of the same height, weight and age. They had combed through several people on the streets including beggars and pavement dwellers,” said a police officer. When they could not get the body, in September, Suresh informed the others that they could murder Dillibabu, who was his friend since childhood.

“Though not very closely associated, both of them used to meet now and then or text each other on phone. Dillibabu was working as a painter and Suresh used this opportunity,” police said. From September 9, Suresh met Dillibabu at his residence in Ernavoor near Ennore, for a few days. Suresh allegedly told Dillibabu’s mother Leelavathy, 69, that he is taking him for a job out of the city.

“The accused picked up Dillibabu from his house on September 15 and reached Melmaruvathur by motorbike. They parked their vehicles at the railway station and took a bus to Puducherry. The same day they returned to Allanoor village near Acharapakkam,” the police officer said. All the four men started consuming liquor under a thatched roof in a farmland owned by Suresh’s father. Later, the night, the trio strangled Dillibabu and poured petrol all over his body and burnt him to death.

They also set fire to the thatched roof. The body was completely charred and following information from the public, the fire was put out. The Orathi police registered a case. Since the land belonged to Suresh’s father, information was passed on to the family. Suresh’s sister Jayashree, 40, lodged a complaint stating that the deceased was indeed her brother, and said he may have died of suicide. The Orathi police registered a case of suicide.

The family tried to access the insurance money, but the plea was rejected. The family held funeral and last rites for Suresh in Ayanavaram. On September 20, Leelavathy lodged a missing persons complaint at the Ennore police station after not being able to contact her son for several days.

Since there was no response from the police, she filed an habeas corpus petition in the High Court. Following the direction of the HC, the Ennore police sought the Orathi police’s assistance. The case was reopened and police launched a hunt for the missing trio. They traced them to Thiruvalangadu village in Arakkonam.

While the police were looking for Dillibabu, they were shocked to find Suresh alive and well. The three were brought back to Chengalpattu where they allegedly confessed to the murder during interrogation. All three were remanded in judicial custody. The remains of Dillibabu were dug up in the presence of the tahsildar on Monday and sent to forensic laboratory. Further probe is on.

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