Gujarat conman sent to judicial custody

'3-member Police team investigating case'
Kiran Patel, a conman from India's Gujrat posing near Ghanta Ghar in Srinagar's Lal Chowk amid security cover.
Kiran Patel, a conman from India's Gujrat posing near Ghanta Ghar in Srinagar's Lal Chowk amid security cover.Special arrangement

Srinagar: A local court in Srinagar on Friday sent the Gujarat conman posing as ‘Additional Director PMO’ to judicial custody after his Police remand ended, officials said.

A local news gathering agency KDC said that the conman identified as Kiran Bhai Patel of Gujarat was produced in a Srinagar court through a videoconference as his Police remand ended on Friday following which the court sent him for judicial custody.

On his arrest in Srinagar, FIR No 19 of 2023 was registered against him at Police Station Nishat for criminal intention and indulging in activities within the jurisdiction of this police station and other parts of Kashmir and by employing high degree of forged means.

“By resorting to cheating, forgery, and impersonation, he had duped gullible people and also intentionally induced people to do and also to omit to do activities, under a well-knit plan for securing monetary as well as material benefits,” an official said. “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.”

The officials said that using forged means, Patel had been able to get security from the J&K Police and was staying at Hotel Lalit in Room No 1107.

He said that the fraudster had visited multiple places in Kashmir including Doodpatri in central Kashmir’s Budgam district.

The official said that at Doodhpathri the ‘fraudster’ was accompanied by a Tehsildar rank officer and official from the Tourism Department.

He said that the conman visited Nishat Garden in Srinagar, where he was accompanied by BJP media incharge Kashmir.

The official said that the conman had visited Baramulla, Shopian, and Pulwama also.

He said that Patel had also met at least three Deputy Commissioners (DCs) during his second visit to Kashmir with a DC-rank officer having met him at Hotel Lalit.

The official said that the conman had also called an SHO of central Kashmir’s Budgam district to the hotel regarding some photos that the SHO had clicked during his visit. 

He said that Amit Hitesh Pandiya and Jay Sitapara from Gujarat, and Trilok Singh from Rajasthan were also staying with Patel at the five-star hotel in Srinagar and impersonating as an official team from the PMO.

Meanwhile, alleging a political conspiracy, Advocate Rehan Gowhar, Patel's lawyer, said that two more people accompanying him had been 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.

Officials said that Patel held a series of meetings with the officials and even visited forward areas near the Line of Control (LoC) and shared several videos and pictures of his 'official visits' in Kashmir surrounded by paramilitary forces, the last of which was on March 2 on Twitter.

They said that the conman's first visit to Kashmir was on October 27 last year.

Officials said that he came with his family and in subsequent visits, other members of the “PMO team” joined him.

A senior officer said that it was 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.

He said that a team of Gujarat Police had also joined investigations and questioned Patel.

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

It said that SSP Srinagar immediately sent a team led by SP East to Lalit Hotel.

The statement said that the particulars of this person were found as Kiran Bhai Patel son of Juddesh Bhai Patel of Ahmadabad, Gujarat who was impersonating as Additional Director (Strategy and Campaigns) PMO, New Delhi.

It said that as his replies were found suspicious, he was taken to Police Station Nishat wherein he admitted his crime.

The statement said that 10 fake visiting cards and two mobile phones were seized from his possession.

It said that based on this, a case under FIR No 19/2023 under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468, and 471 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was registered at Police Station Nishat on March 2, 2023, and investigation was taken up.

The statement said that a team of SP East Srinagar, SDPO Nehru Park, and SHO Nishat are leading the investigation.

It said that the accused Kiran Bhai Patel was arrested on March 3, 2023 and was in Police remand up to March 17, 2023.

The statement said that many relevant persons had been examined in this case.

It said that the case was at the initial stage of investigation and that further details of this case would be shared later on.

The statement said that three cases were registered against the fraudster in different police stations of Gujarat.

It said that these cases were registered at Raopura Police Station in Baroda city under case No I/0064/2019 dated August 7, 2019 under Section 114, 294(KH), 406, 420, and 5072 of the IPC, at Naroda Police Station in Ahmedabad city under case No I/0066/2017 dated February 24, 2017 under Section 120 B, 406, and 420 of the IPC, and at Bayad Police Station at Aravali under case No I/0047/2019 dated August 22, 2019 under sections 120 B, 406, and 420 of the IPC.

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