Gujarat conman posing as ‘Additional Director PMO’ arrested in Srinagar

SRINAGAR — In a high profile case, Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested a man from Gujarat who was allegedly by forged means posing as Additional Director (Strategy & Campaigns) Prime Minister’s Office, New Delhi, in summer capital Srinagar.

Reliable sources told the Srinagar-based news agency KDC that top officers of Jammu and Kashmir Police after getting specific information regarding a man, identified as Kiran Patel son of Jagdesh Patel, posing as Additional Director (Strategy & Campaigns) PMO, New Delhi, swiftly acted and arrested the man in summer capital Srinagar.

Accordingly, an FIR No. 19 of 2023 was registered by Srinagar Police in Police Station Nishat, which reads, “On 02-03-2023, a reliable information received by Police Station Nishat has revealed that a fraudster namely Kiran Bhai Patel son of Jagdesh Bhai Patel, resident of Gujarat, has by virtue of criminal intention indulged in activities within the jurisdiction of this police station and other parts of Kashmir valley and by employing a high degree of forged means. Kiran Bhai has impersonated himself as a senior government official of India.”

The said individual, by resorting to cheating, forgery and impersonation has duped gullible people and also intentionally induced people to do and also omit to do activities, under a well-knit plan for securing monetary as well as material benefits.

The imposter had taken the J&K administration and security structure for a ride by securing Z-plus security cover, a bulletproof Mahindra Scorpio SUV, official accommodation at a five-star hotel, and a lot more.

Sources say Amit Hitesh Pandiya and Jay Sitapara from Gujarat, and Trilok Singh from Rajasthan were also staying with Patel in the Srinagar hotel and impersonating as an official team from the Prime Minister’s Office.

As per reports, Patel was able to get security from the Jammu and Kashmir Police by forged means and was staying at Hotel Lalit in Room No. 1107. The ‘fraudster’, as per reports, had visited multiple places in Kashmir including Doodpatri in central Kashmir’s Budgam district. At Doodpathri, the ‘fraudster’ was accompanied by an SDM rank officer (Tehsildar) and an official from the Tourism department.

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The conman, as per reports, had called an SHO of central Kashmir’s Budgam district at a hotel here regarding some photos that were clicked by SHO during his visit.

The conman visited Nishat Garden in Srinagar, where he was accompanied by the BJP media in-charge Kashmir. The conman had visited Baramulla, Shopian and Pulwama also.

If sources are to be believed, Kiran Patel, who himself posed as a senior official of the Government of India, also met at least three Deputy Commissioners during his visit to the valley. A Deputy Commissioner rank officer is believed to have met him at Hotel Lalit.

Conman posing as ‘Additional Director PMO’ sent to judicial custody

A local court in Srinagar on Friday sent the arrested man from Gujarat to judicial custody after police remand ended, officials said.

They told the news agency KDC that a conman identified as Kiran Patel, a resident of Gujarat, was produced in Srinagar court today via video conference as the police remand ended on Friday. The court sent him for judicial custody.

Jammu and Kashmir Police has formed a three-member team headed by SP East Srinagar to investigate the case against the alleged impersonator from Gujarat.

Alleging a political conspiracy, advocate Rehan Gowhar, Patel’s lawyer, said that two more people accompanying him were set free by the police.

“My client told me that he was accompanied by two more people from Gujarat. Police have also recorded his statement before the magistrate under section 164. Both were set free by the police,” he said.

The “PMO team” has been visiting Kashmir since October last year. Hours before Patel was arrested on March 2 following a tip-off by Jammu and Kashmir CID, the imposter, Kiran Bhai Patel, also held a series of meetings with officials and even visited forward areas near the Line of Control. He shared several videos and pictures of his ‘official visits’ in Kashmir surrounded by paramilitary guards, the last of which was on March 2 on Twitter.

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The conman’s first visit to the valley was on October 27 last year. He came with his family. In subsequent visits, the other members of the “PMO team” joined him.

A senior officer said that it’s a major concern that an IAS introduced a conman as a PMO official, and the security wing of the police and other officials obliged with official protocol and Z-plus security cover for such a long time.

A team of Gujarat Police has also joined investigations and questioned Patel, sources said.

The Police, in a statement, said that on March 2, 2023, the CID wing of J&K Police gave information about the arrival of an impersonator in Kashmir.

“SSP Srinagar immediately sent a team led by SP East to Lalit Hotel. The particulars of this person were found as Kiran Bhai Patel son of Juddesh Bhai Patel, resident of Ahmedabad Gujarat, who was impersonating himself as Additional Director (Strategy and campaigns) PMO, New Delhi. As his replies were found suspicious, he was taken to Police Station Nishat wherein he admitted his crime,” the statement said.

10 fake visiting cards and two mobiles were seized from him. “A team of SP East Srinagar, SDPO Nehru Park, SHO Nishat are leading the investigation,” the spokesperson said.

The statement said that many relevant persons have been examined in this case. “Case is at the initial stage of the investigation. Further details of this case will be shared later on,” the police said.

The statement also said that there are three cases registered against the ‘fraudster’ in different Police stations in Gujarat: Raopura Police Station, Baroda, Case No. I/0064/2019, Case Date: 7/8/2019 IPC 114, 294(KH), 406, 420, 5072; Naroda Police Station, Ahmedabad, Case No. I/0066/2017, Case Date: 24/02/2017 IPC 120B, 406, 420 and Bayad Police Station, Aravali, Case No. I/0047/2019, Case Date: 22/08/2019 IPC 120B, 406, 420.

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