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J&K: ‘Security Lapse’ as Conman from Gujarat Enjoys VIP Treatment as ‘PMO Official’

Anees Zargar |
Flanked by police and paramilitary forces, K J Patel can be seen in photos, posing in “sensitive areas” of Boulevard Road and Lal Chowk in Srinagar and Kaman Post in border area of Uri.
Pic from Patel's social media

Image Courtesy: Twitter

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir police have arrested a resident of Gujarat state after he allegedly used a fake identity of being an official of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and ‘deceived’ the UT administration for months.

The conman, identified as Bansi alias Kiran Jagdishbhai Patel, has since been sent to judicial custody by a local court after questioning by Jammu and Kashmir police. According to the reports, the police has questioned some senior administrative officials, policemen and locals regarding the case.

Patel, as per reports, has visited Kashmir many times since October last and apparently brought his friends and relatives along with him following which he would enjoy a five-star hotel stay. He has reportedly visited most of the major tourist destinations in the Valley under a heavy security cover provided to him by the local police and administration.

The resident of Gujrat, according to reports, duped the administration by allegedly impersonating as an Additional Director of Strategy and Campaigns in the PMO following which he was given round the clock security protocol. The designation is mentioned in his fake visiting card, which the police have recovered.

The conman, who was earlier held in a cheating case in Ahmedabad in 2019, posted pictures and videos about his travels in Kashmir on social media networks, including Facebook and Instagram.

Flanked by police and paramilitary forces, Patel could be seen posing in “sensitive areas” of Boulevard Road and Lal Chowk in Srinagar and Kaman Post in the border area of Uri. On his Twitter bio, Patel has mentioned that he is a Phd from Commonwealth University, Virginia and an MBA from IIM TRICHY, M. Tech in Computer Science and B.E. in Computer Engineering.

The J&K police have registered a case at the Nishat police station in Srinagar under Sections 419, 420, 467, 468, 471 of the Indian Penal Code stating that Patel “by resorting to cheating, forgery and impersonation has 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.”

The incident has caught the region by surprise and also raised concerns with many terming it a major “security lapse.” Jammu and Kashmir state spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said the fact that Patel has visited Kashmir several times before he was apprehended was disturbing.

“What we are seeing is that a conman is enjoying an elaborate security protocol at a time when the security of the former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir is downgraded. It is a security lapse and should be investigated thoroughly,” Dar told NewsClick.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M Y Tarigami also raised serious concerns over the incident that, he said, reflected the “sad state of affairs” in the region. He urged the authorities for a thorough probe, adding that action should be taken against all those involved in the case.

“The incident shows how the administration works in Jammu and Kashmir where a fraudster is given a VIP treatment with high-grade security and those who deserve it, their security cover is denied or downgraded,” Tarigami said.

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