Man Who Used Cobra To Stage His Own Death In Insurance Scam Is Caught

by : Julia Banim on : 26 Oct 2021 16:48
Man Who Used Cobra To Stage His Own Death In Insurance Scam Is CaughtAlamy

A man from India has been caught out after using a cobra to stage his own death as part of an elaborate insurance scam.

Prabhakar Bhimaji Waghchaure, from Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district, faked his own death in a bid to claim $5 million (Rs 37.5 crore) worth of life insurance through a US insurance firm.


In order to carry out his plan, the 54-year-old, who returned to India in January after 20 years living in the US, used a cobra as a ‘murder weapon’ to kill a destitute man. A man named Praveen, who claimed to be Waghchaure’s nephew, identified the deceased as Waghchaure, as did local resident Harshad Lahamge.

Cobra (Alamy)Alamy

The preliminary medical report determined the cause of death to be due to a snakebite, and the body was handed over to Praveen for funeral rites to be carried out. However, the truth began to emerge after insurance firm officials investigating claim requested more information about Waghchaure’s death.

After officers visited Waghchaure’s home, a neighbour stated that they hadn’t heard of any incident with a snake, but had spotted an ambulance arriving at the house at the time the incident allegedly took place. After being contacted by police, Lahamge claimed Praveen had died from coronavirus.


After not being able to track down any of Waghchaure’s relatives, police looked through Waghchaure’s phone records. They discovered that he was alive, and that he had posed as his ‘nephew’ Praveen at the hospital.

Ahmednagar SP Manoj Patil has given the following statement:

The insurance claims investigator had started digging deep into the claim on Waghchaure’s death because he had fraudulently claimed the death of his wife for a life insurance claim in 2017.

His wife is alive… Waghchaure and other conspirators hatched an elaborate plan. Probe has revealed that they procured a cobra from a snake rescuer.

They found a destitute person, with similar looks as that of Waghchaure, and had killed him with the bite of the cobra. Waghchaure himself posed as his nephew Praveen and reported the snakebite death.

Cobra (Alamy)Alamy

The dead man has now been identified as 50-year-old as Navnath Yashwant Aanap. Mere days before staging his death, Waghchaure began living at a new address.

Two relatives, Sandeep Talekar and Prashant Chaudhary, were the ones who found Aanap and Lahamge, with Lahamge managing to get hold of the cobra from a snake rescuer.

On April 22, Aanap was forced to accompany Waghchaure forced to a secluded location. Here, a snake handler identified named Harish Kulal induced the snake to fatally bite Aanap on his toe. Aanap’s body was taken to Waghchaure’s home, at which point the accused called an ambulance.

Waghchaure and his four accomplices have since been arrested, and officers are also now contemplating taking action against the snake rescuer.


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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: Animals, India, Now


The Indian Express
  1. The Indian Express

    Man uses cobra as ‘murder weapon’ to stage own death for $5 million life insurance