Court Reserves Order On Bail Plea Of ‘Gujrat Conman’

SRINAGAR: A court in Srinagar reserved orders on the bail plea of Kiran Bhai Patel, a man from Gujarat who allegedly impersonated a PMO official to obtain benefits before being arrested earlier this month. While the accused’s counsel argued for his release based on personal liberty and the absence of “serious” charges against him, the prosecution opposed the bail plea, citing the early stages of the investigation.

“I applied sometime back to seek a personal security officer but my request is yet to be approved. Then how is it possible that a man comes to Kashmir from Gujarat and gets a Z-plus security cover? What was the state doing all this time?” The judge observed.

The defence argued in court, stating that “my client has not committed any offence and that his liberty was curtailed by false allegations.” They also questioned, “even if he managed to get security cover, whose negligence is it? How come an outsider comes and gets security without getting mandatory clearances in a region where security remains on the highest degree of alert.”

After hearing the submissions of the counsels, the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Srinagar Raja Mohammad Tasleem reserved the order to be pronounced on Thursday (March 23).

Pertinent to mention, Kiran Patel, who was arrested earlier this month for allegedly impersonating a senior government official and duping people, has been sent to judicial custody by a local court in Srinagar. The accused has been booked under sections 419, 420, 467, 468, and 471 of the Indian Penal Code.

The Jammu and Kashmir police has formed a three-member team, led by SP East Srinagar, to investigate the case against Patel, who had been posing as a member of a “PMO team” that has been visiting Kashmir since October last year. The imposter had also visited forward areas near the Line of Control and shared pictures and videos of his ‘official visits’ on social media.

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.

According to a senior officer, the fact that an IAS officer introduced a conman as a PMO official, and that the security wing of the police and other officials granted him official protocol and Z plus security cover for an extended period of time, is a major concern.

In a statement, the police reported that on March 2, 2023, the CID wing of the J&K Police provided information about the arrival of an impersonator in Kashmir. “SSP Srinagar immediately dispatched a team led by SP East to Lalit hotel, where they discovered Kiran Bhai Patel, son of Juddesh Bhai Patel and a resident of Ahmadabad, Gujarat, who was impersonating himself as Additional Director (Strategy and campaigns) PMO New Delhi. As his responses were found to be suspicious, he was taken to Police Station Nishat, where he confessed to his crime,” the statement said.

The police spokesperson stated that during the investigation, ten counterfeit visiting cards and two mobile phones were confiscated from the accused. The investigation is being headed by a team led by SP East Srinagar, SDPO Nehru Park, and SHO Nishat. Several relevant individuals have been interrogated in connection with the case, and the investigation is in its initial stages.

The police have revealed that the accused has three cases registered against him in various police stations in Gujarat: Raopura Police Station, Baroda City Case No I/0064/2019, Naroda Police Station Ahmedabad City case No I/0066/2017, and Bayad Police Station, Aravali Case No I/0047/2019. The accused has been charged under various sections of the IPC, including 114, 294(KH), 406, 420, and 5072, as well as 120B. The police will share further details regarding the case in due course.



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