The Hindu has reported that the Jammu and Kashmir police have now arrested two persons Amit Pandya and Jai Sitapara, who had accompanied Gujarat ‘conman’ Kiran Patel during his J&K trip which saw him get arrested.
As reported by The Wire earlier, both, Pandya and Sitapara, along with one Trilok Singh, from Rajasthan, were let off by the Police even as Patel was arrested for posing as an additional director of the PMO in the first week of March. According to report published in The Hindu, Pandya runs a company that supplies CCTV camera and IT related products. His father Hitesh Pandya has been with the Gujarat CM office, working in the public relation (PR) branch for over two decades, since 2002.
Pandya is reported to still be active in the state BJP’s social media wing. “He is very innocent but got trapped,” his colleague from the BJP social media wing is quoted by the newspaper as saying. The colleague also said, “He hardly uses his father’s name also”.
The Gujarat state BJP has yet to make a statement. Hitesh Pandya told the media that he was not aware of his son’s friendship with the conman first arrested, Kiran Patel.
The other person arrested, also from Gujarat, Jay Sitapara is reported to hail from Saurashtra and has been seen with Kiran Patel in many places. The Hindu says that Patel used to own a mobile number from the same series which is exclusive for the Gujarat Government ministers and top bureaucrats. “It is a mystery how he could obtain the number from that series,” a Police official said.
The Hindu cites Surat’s Diamond baron Dinesh Navadia as saying that Kiran Patel had approached him “to invest in J&K and he would get all necessary clearances from the local administration.”
“We had met briefly in J&K where he had come see me in a five star hotel. Entire hotel staff stood up when he arrived and the manager had gone to the entrance to receive him,” Navadia told local media in Surat.
The court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Srinagar had raised uncomfortable questions about the “lapses” on March 20, (Monday) which allowed the Ahmedabad-based man, Kiran Bhai Patel, to con J&K’s civil and security administration before his arrest from a hotel in Srinagar. “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 Wire had done a profile of Kiran Patel which you can read here.
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