An Indian-origin DJ is likely to face imprisonment after being found guilty of contempt of court for demanding over 837,000 pounds in fake injury claims, in what is believed to be the first such case brought by a National Health Service (NHS) trust. Sandip Singh Atwal, known as Sunny, was filmed dancing and working as a courier after claiming that “negligent” treatment, he received from the UK’s state-funded NHS for minor injuries, had left him unemployed and dependent. The 33-year-old was found in contempt of court on 14 counts yesterday and will be sentenced on June 1.
The maximum sentence for contempt charges is two years imprisonment. It is believed to be the first time an NHS trust has brought such proceedings. The Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust said the ruling highlights the consequences of submitting “dishonest and exaggerated claims”. In June 2008, Atwal, who was working in his family’s taxi firm, was injured in an attack with a baseball bat and went to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary for treatment.
He was treated for fractures to the index finger of his right hand and the ring finger of his left hand, and a laceration to his lower lip. He later brought a claim for negligent treatment, which was admitted by Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, which offered 30,000 pounds to settle the case.
Atwal asked for 837,109 pounds, including very substantial sums for future loss of earnings and future care, on the basis he was unable to work and grossly incapacitated. In order to justify the much larger claim, Atwal said he was suffering from disability, self-consciousness about his lip and hands, had becoming a social recluse, suffered alcohol dependence and reliance on pain killers and was unable to work as a DJ or a courier between 2010 to 2015.
But the NHS trust was suspicious, put Atwal under surveillance and investigated his social media postings which “gave the lie” to much of what he was asserting, noted the High Court judge, Justice Spencer, in his ruling this week. Surveillance footage showed Atwal working and lifting heavy items, with no visible signs of discomfort, leading the trust to accuse him of fraudulent exaggeration. NHS Resolution, on behalf of the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, said the case should be seen as a demonstration of its commitment to combating fraud – but should not deter genuine claimants.