New Delhi: Before COVID-19, some foreign patients had suddenly started patronising a few doctors in Agra, Delhi and Jaipur - not so much for their professional competence but for the windfall profits their association brought them. Some of the doctors from these three cities - which draw many tourists and are part of the so-called ‘Golden Triangle’ in the Indian tourism sector - have found an easy way out to make fast buck by swindling foreign insurance companies.
According to reliable sources, some doctors in the three cities are hook foreign tourists from the nearby hotels through touts and taxi owners who act as their agents. They first take the foreign tourists into confidence by promising them that they will sponsor their visit to the respective cities. Later, when they succeed in convincing their clients, they explain the entire plan to them.
They issue fake medical certificates to their patients showing them to be suffering from chronic diseases, requiring immediate treatment in expensive nursing homes. They send these fake certificates signed by the so-called patients to their insurance agents to claim medical compensation. The insurance money is usually received by doctors in their individual bank accounts. The money thus received is distributed equally among the hotel owners and taxi owners and the other half is shared by the doctors and their foreign patients.
A retired Indian Police Officer, Subesh Kumar Singh, who served as Senior Superintendent of Police Agra, once arrested an Agra doctor for this fraud. Singh told Gulf news that in this insurance fraud, both doctors and foreign ‘patients’ are beneficiaries. “A few foreigners from all countries, mostly from Europe, with weak economic background are involved in this racket,” add Singh.
Vivek Arora [name changed], associated with Agra tourism sector, said: “After foreign insurance companies came to know about this fraud, things have organised now. Before it was very rampant.”
There are hotels in three cities, which are acting as agents. Two such hotel owners from Delhi and Jaipur who are no longer in this business, said: “We have been told by a doctor from the area to send ailing foreign tourists to his clinic for treatment on commission basis. In the beginning, I agreed to his demand. But later quit the job realising its consequences.”
Fake foreign patients are believed to be hand-in-glove with these doctors in the hope of making money. Sources said these foreigners visit chosen doctors and ask for treatment. They help doctors get insurance money from their country. The insurance companies are sent fake reports of medical tests and certificates, indicating some serious diseases requiring immediate treatment, including surgical operations.
This year with no foreign tourists coming due to COVID-19, these doctors are busy seeing local patients. Otherwise, their clinic is rarely visited by local patients; they are used to examining only foreign patients.