Insurer told to pay for shop torched in 2002 | Ahmedabad News


AHMEDABAD: Twenty-one years after Tejmohemmed Mansuri‘s shop which was set on fire during the 2002 riots, a city civil court ordered an insurance company to pay him the full Rs 5 lakh assured.
This dispute lasted for more than two decades, with the insurer only willing to Rs 36,000 on assessing the losses, while the shop owner insisted on the full sum assured of Rs 5 lakh.
Mansuri owned a shop, ‘T R Cotton Works’, in Khokhra which was insured by United India Insurance Co Ltd. One day after the Godhra train carnage, Mansuri’s shop was torched on February 28, 2002, during the Gujarat bandh called by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Mansuri lodged a complaint at Amraiwadi police station and a panchnama was drawn up, assessing his losses at Rs 6 lakh.
Mansuri claimed the Rs 5 lakh insurance payout and the insurer said an independent surveyor had assessed the losses at Rs 36,000, by looking at the size of the shop and the mattresses it could hold. The dispute reached the insurance ombudsman in 2003, where a settlement did not take place. The ombudsman suggested that Mansuri file a civil suit for recovery of the insurance payout.
Mansuri filed the suit in 2011, and the insurance company objected to Mansuri’s claim. It submitted that it had hired an investigator, who found that Mansuri had shifted the entire stock from his shop to three different locations before the violence began. The accounting anomaly was so deep that it revealed a negative stock on the date of loss and the claim was false.
The insurer also argued that the government had compensated those affected by the 2002 riots, and the amount paid would be in direct proportion to the sum mentioned in the police panchnama. However, Mansuri did not reveal information about the compensation received.
As the insurer did not cross-examine Mansuri in court, the city civil judge concluded that the evidence produced by the shop owner was correct. The court ordered that Mansuri was entitled to recover Rs 5 lakh. Adjusted for inflation, Rs 5 lakh in 2002 would be worth Rs 19 lakh in 2023.

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