Pending inquiry, 2 officers likely to be attached in J&K

AHMED ALI FAYYAZ. Updated: 3/18/2023 2:40:54 AM Front Page

Srinagar: Parallel to the criminal investigation at Nishat Police Station in Srinagar, the Union Territory administration is understood to be considering a high level departmental inquiry into the issue of a Gujarat conman having duped senior officials and taken the highest Z-Plus security in his four visits to Jammu and Kashmir.
Knowledgeable sources said that the UT administration, in coordination with the Government of India, was likely to conduct a deep departmental inquiry into the circumstances in which a non-official from Gujarat was given a VIP hospitality and protocol in his four visits in the Kashmir valley from October 2022 to March 2023. The inquiry would find out how a stranger civilian had been provided Z-plus security, including a bulletproof Mahindra Scorpio SUV, double escort and several personal security officers (PSO) without any threat perception or communication from New Delhi.
As already reported in this newspaper, one Kiran Patel of Gujarat, introduced himself as “Additional Director (Strategy & Campaigns) in the Prime Minister’s Office”. On all four of his visits, he was treated as a “State guest” and provided free accommodation and boarding in Srinagar’s high-end Lalit Hotel. On some intelligence inputs, Patel, along with two associates, was finally trapped and arrested at Lalit Hotel, near Raj Bhavan.
Patel was booked in a case of cheating, forgery and impersonation and taken on two weeks of remand for sustained interrogation.
Sources said that pending a departmental inquiry into their conduct, two middle-rung officers—one each from the Police and civil administration—were likely to be removed from their positions and attached to the offices of the Director General of Police and the Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir. However, the final decision regarding the proposal of their attachment had not been taken till late on Friday night. The inquiry, according to sources, would identify the officers who had originated a communication in violation of the standard operating procedure. It would also find out how a communication without being logged from the Centre or Chief Secretary’s office had been taken as authentic, facilitating the deployment of the highest security cover and access to a stranger to high security installations.
Patel is known to have visited the tourist resorts of Gulmarg (Baramulla), Doodhpathri (Budgam), Aharbal (Kulgam), Sonmarg (Ganderbal) besides some forward areas of Uri (Baramulla), close to the LoC. During his visits, he is known to have taken meetings with officers and conducted inspection of several projects.
“Procedure involves proper official correspondence addressed to state Chief Secretary, with copy to DGP & ADG Security for providing security to visiting official from New Delhi which in this case has clearly not happened”, former DGP Dr Shesh Paul Vaid tweeted. “The blame lies with the senior civil officer heading the district in the Kashmir Valley and not the Jammu & Kashmir Police. J&K CID & Kashmir Zone Police acted vigilantly and arrested Kiran Patel and his associates before something major could have happened”, Vaid added.
Dr Vaid said that the matter should be investigated and the officer found guilty should be punished under relevant provisions of law. “Concerned civil officers who directed the police for providing security should be departmentally proceeded against. This could have posed a huge security risk”, Vaid added. However, the IAS lobby is holding a different view, asserting that providing security was an exclusive domain of the Police department.
SHO of Police Station Nishat has been attached and replaced by another Inspector. Sources said that his attachment was ordered after he released one of the three accused persons after recording his statement before a magistrate. Unconfirmed reports said that this accused was considered as an approver in the case as his statement strengthened the Police case against the key accused. Some officials said that the SHO had clicked pictures with the accused at Hotel Lalit and the same officer could not hold the investigation against the same accused.
Meanwhile, the Police on Friday issued its first statement on Patel’s arrest.
“On 2nd of March 2023, CID wing of J&K Police gave information to Police about arrival of an impersonator in Kashmir. SSP Srinagar immediately sent a team led by SP East to Lalit hotel. The particulars of this person were found as Kiran Bhai Patel son of Juddesh Bhai Patel resident of Ahmadabad Gujarat who was impersonating himself as Additional Director (Strategy and campaigns) PMO New Delhi. As his replies were found suspicious, he was taken to Police Station Nishat wherein he admitted his crime. Ten fake visiting cards and two mobiles were seized from him”, said the Police statement.
“Based upon this, a case vide FIR No. 19/2023 U/S 419,420,467,468, 471 of IPC was registered in Police Station Nishat on 02/03/2023 and investigation was taken up. A team of SP East Srinagar, SDPO Nehru Park, SHO Nishat are leading the investigation. The accused Kiran Bhai Patel was arrested on 03-03-2023 and is in police remand up to 17-03-2023. Many relevant persons have been examined in this case. Case is at initial stage of investigation. Further details of this case will be shared later on”, it added.
“It is also pertinent to mention that there are three cases registered against above fraudster in different Police stations in Gujrat: Raopura Police Station, Baroda city Case No I/0064/2019, Case Date: 7/8/2019 IPC 114, 294(KH), 406, 420, 5072, Naroda Police Station Ahmedabad City case No I/0066/2017 Case Date: 24/02/2017 IPC 120B, 406, 420 and Bayad Police Station, Aravali Case No I/0047/2019, Case Date: 22/08/2019 IPC 120B, 406, 420”, the Police statement added further.

Updated On 3/18/2023 2:43:30 AM

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