• The man was presumed dead in a train accident that happened in 2010
  • Authorities had performed DNA testing before handing over the body to his family
  • Police suspect the family had tampered with the DNA report to get compensation

A 38-year-old man, who was presumed dead in a train accident, has been found alive after 11 years.

The incident came to light Saturday after police detained a man, identified as Amritavan Chowdhury, from the eastern Indian state of West Bengal. Authorities said Chowdhury was listed among the passengers who died in the Jnaneswari train accident, which claimed the lives of 148 passengers, on May 28, 2010.

The man's body was handed over to the family after DNA testing. Following the accident, his family received $5,400 as compensation and his sister got a central government job.

Police suspect it was a scam and that the family had tampered with the DNA report to get the compensation. After Chowdhury was found alive, police filed a complaint against his family. The report named his sister, Mahua Pathak, and their parents, Mihir Kumar Chowdhury and Archana Chowdhury.

"We received a complaint from the office of general manager (vigilance), administrative branch of the South Eastern Railway on August 11 last year based on which a discreet inquiry was started. The preliminary findings suggest that the person in question, Amritava Chowdhury, against whose death his family was compensated by the government, is still alive," an officer with India's central investigating agency told local media.

"The body was handed over to the family after matching the DNA profiling. This means there was some tampering with the DNA report because now we find that the so-called dead person is alive and that body that was handed over to the family was not that of Amritava Chowdhury," the officer added.

Authorities said most of the bodies were in a recognizable condition and were handed over to the families after examining the documents. However, some were mutilated and in such cases, the bodies were handed over to the families after DNA matching.

"It was apparent that the Chowdhury family in alleged connivance with some government officials had tampered with the DNA profiling report and proved that the DNA of one of the bodies of the victims of the train accident matched with that of their family member's," a senior police officer said.

It was not clear if Chowdhury had ever contacted the family members after the accident.

Officials suspect that some railway employees may have been involved in the scam, the Hindustan Times reported. Authorities are now trying to find out the identity of the body that was handed over to Chowdhury's family.

Dead body
Representational image Getty Images/ John Moore