Making a mockery of the government machinery is the kind of bravado we see in films. A Wednesday, the Naseeruddin Shah starrer, springs to mind: a common man cons the system to plant a bomb in a police station.
Imagine such an act of daredevilry in the real world. Dr Kiran Patel, alias Bansi, posing as a senior official from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office, was taken to Nishat police station on the charges of cheating, forgery, and availing of monetary and material benefits. The police have raided his bungalow in Ghodasar for investigation.
Vibes of India’s investigation reveals that Dr Patel, who has a verified Twitter account and counts a BJP official among his followers, is a history sheeter.
For the unversed, Dr Patel posed as the Additional Director, Strategy and Campaigning, in the PMO office. He used his fake profile to get Z-plus security, bulletproof vehicles, and luxurious hotel facilities. Emboldened after deceiving all and sundry, he met top bureaucrats and reportedly visited the LoC (Line of Control) area. Court documents reveal that he forged identity cards too. He even took to social media to post pictures of him flanked by security guards during ‘official’ visits to Jammu & Kashmir.
His Twitter bio claims that he holds a PhD from Commonwealth University, an MTech in computer science and a BE in computer engineering. He describes himself as a ‘thinker, strategist, analyst and campaign manager’.
His game was up when a District Collector (DC) in Srinagar became suspicious as Dr Patel visited the region twice a week, apparently to monitor development projects like Pir Panjal tunnel and redevelopment of Lal Chowk. An inquiry revealed no such person held a position at the PMO’s office.
As it turns out, Dr Patel is a seasoned campaigner in conmanship. He has three cases registered against him in Gujarat: Raopura Police Station, Naroda Police Station, and Bayad Police Station.
The impersonation of a PMO officer wasn’t a one-off. In the past, he posed as a government officer entrusted to identify buyers for apple orchards in South Kashmir. Reports have emerged of him flying to Gulmarg, claiming the government asked him to supervise the quality of the hotels in the region.
Vibes of India’s investigation reveals more damning episodes. In the past, he misled people into believing that he had ties with Uttar Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel and former Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and even held office at Swarnim Sankul.
In 2021, he was arrested for presenting himself as a member of the PMO Advisory Committee at the Statue of Unity. Once, he borrowed a car from DCP TM Parmar’s son and never returned it. There is a story of him collecting funds for a garba programme, promising to bring a famous singer on the occasion. Of course, these were fake promises meant to dupe people of big money.
It remains to be seen whether call details from his phone reveal ties with politicians, IPS officers, influential people, and journalists. Reports have also emerged of three of his accomplices who managed to escape. Dr Patel could be a henchman of a greater nexus at work. That he still managed to hoodwink the system – rather make a fool of it – beggars belief.