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Conman posing as PMO official got Z-security and VIP stay during Srinagar visits, arrested

Gujarat based conman Kran J. Patel (centre) has been finally arrested (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@ahmedalifayyaz)

A Gujarat-based conman operating under the name of Dr. Kiran J Patel and impersonating as “Additional Director (Strategy & Campaign) in the Prime Minister’s Office” has been arrested and booked in a criminal case by the Jammu and Kashmir Police. Patel’s arrest came after he hoodwinked senior officers of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and civil administration, including several IAS officers, enjoyed a Z-Plus security cover and visited high security installations in the Kashmir valley for four months.

A high level inquiry into the security breach, in which Patel also visited the strategically sensitive border areas of Uri, near the LoC in northern Kashmir, has been launched.

Well-placed sources revealed to India Narrative that Patel was put under surveillance on 26 February 2023, a day after the Budgam Deputy Commissioner Syed Fakharuddin Hamid alerted the Police and security authorities that a ‘suspicious person’ enjoying a Z-plus security cover, with a bulletproof Mahindra Scorpio vehicle, paramilitary double escort and personal security officers (PSOs), had visited the tourist resort of Doodhpathri.

The young IAS officer, according to sources, sent a WhatsApp alert to the authorities after he learned that the ‘suspicious VIP’ had conducted the visit as an officer of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). He had snubbed the officers at Doodhpathri for being ‘lax’ and threatened to get the DC shifted. On inputs from DC Budgam and the CID wing of the Union Territory Police, Patel was trapped and arrested on 2 March when he arrived in Srinagar on his fourth visit since November 2022.

The mobile phones recovered from Patel indicate that he travelled between Delhi and Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and also visited Russia in the month of January 2023. Srinagar District Police have booked him in a case of criminal forgery, cheating and impersonation at Nishat Police Station as one Deputy Commissioner from southern Kashmir and some officers of the Police’s Security Wing have been questioned about the way of providing the State hospitality and protocol and a Z-plus security cover to the conman. Police have secured the detainee’s remand from a magistrate but his arrest became public 14 days after he was taken into custody.

Sources associated with the investigation said that Patel visited different places in Srinagar, Budgam, Kulgam, Shopian, Pulwama and Baramulla districts in Z-Plus security cover. In the last week of November 2022, he also visited the garrison township of Uri and areas close to the LoC as Additional Director (Strategy & Campaign) in the Prime Minister’s Office.

Interestingly—and surprisingly—Patel posted the video reels of his ‘VVIP visits’ on his Facebook and Instagram without being noticed by the security and intelligence agencies for a long time.

Patel has a verified account on Twitter (verified by subscription recently) with just 1,302 followers since 2009. He follows as many as 2,350 people. In his profile he has introduced himself as “PHD (Commonwealth University Virginia), MBA (IIM TRICHY), M.Tech (Computer Science), B.E. Computer (LD Engineering, Thinker, Strategist, Analyst, Campaign Manager”. In addition to Twitter, Patel runs two Facebook pages and one Instagram handle.

Under Z-Plus security cover, Patel appeared at Srinagar’s iconic Clock Tower at Lalchowk and posted the picture on his Facebook on 14 February 2023. Earlier on 25 November 2022, he posted a video on his Instagram in which he is seen taking a visit of the Boulevard, on the banks of Dal Lake in Srinagar, in a black bulletproof Scorpio with a woman and heavy CRPF/SSB protection. He enjoyed the UT Government’s full hospitality and protocol as a ‘State guest from PMO’ at the 5-Star Lalit Hotel.

Knowledgeable sources revealed that several officers, including DCs and IAS officers, met Patel during his visits in the last four months. Some of them sought his help for their ‘good postings’ which he assured. On the day of a bureaucratic reshuffle in the UT Government in February, Patel is known to have bragged to the officials at Gulmarg that the transfers and appointments had been ordered on his ‘orders’. The Raj Bhawan and Chief Secretary reportedly had no knowledge of Patel’s visits as a VIP and ‘State guest from PMO’.

In his three detected visits, Patel is known to have taken meetings with some officers, spoken about some companies’ interest in establishing businesses and constructing projects in Kashmir. His visits to the tourist resorts of Gulmarg in Baramulla district, Aharbal in Kulgam district, Doodhpathri in Budgam district and several places in Pulwama, Shopian and Srinagar districts have been detected.