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Conman from Gujarat posing as PMO official got Z-plus cover, met J-K officials; arrested

Kiran J Patel has a verified Twitter handle and has over a thousand followers. Impersonated as an additional director for strategy and campaigns in the Prime Minister’s Office, Patel had travelled to several tourist places in Kashmir, including Gulmarg, claiming that the government had tasked him to look for improvement in hotel facilities in the area. What’s more: The man from Gujarat had even got Z-plus security cover, a bulletproof SUV and official accommodation at a five-star hotel in Jammu and Kashmir, taking the administration for a ride.

Kiran Patel poses with security personnel for a photo in front of the clock tower Lal Chowk in Srinagar.(Source: @ahmedalifayyaz)

However, Patel was subsequently arrested by alert security officials on March 3 on his third visit to the Kashmir Valley, news agency PTI reported. He was arrested by police from a five-star hotel in Srinagar for posing as an ‘additional secretary’ in the Centre and enjoying security cover besides other hospitality.

Patel had reportedly claimed that he had been given the mandate by the government to identify buyers for apple orchards in south Kashmir and a couple of IAS officers were in awe of him as he had been dropping names of high-ranking bureaucrats and politicians in the national capital.

He was produced before a court in Srinagar last evening for the extension of his police remand. A case under relevant sections of cheating and forgery was registered against him on March 2 and he was arrested the next day.

Videos of him travelling to various places escorted by paramilitary personnel

On Twitter, Patel is followed by BJP Gujarat general secretary Pradipsinh Vaghela. He even posted several videos and pictures of his visits in Kashmir surrounded by paramilitary personnel.

Patel claims to have a PhD from Commonwealth University, Virginia, an MBA from IIM Trichy, as well as an M Tech in Computer Science and BE in computer engineering.

In one of the videos, he is seen walking through snow at Doodhpathri in Budgam with paramilitary guards. He also posed for a photo in front of the clock tower Lal Chowk in Srinagar.

Security agencies got suspicious after he landed at the airport on March 2 as there was no information of any VIP movement. An attempt was made to stop him at the airport but this could not fructify as he had already stepped into a bullet-proof car on the way to the hotel.

After his questioning and subsequent arrest, security officials recovered forged identity cards from his possession, the court documents said.

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