The fact that conman Kiran Patel could hoodwink the entire system and government of a state which warrants and enforces the highest level of security checks in the country, does require a willing suspension of disbelief. Not only did Patel tour the scenic Valley, he also held meetings with several police officials, functionaries and diplomatic officers.
Jammu and Kashmir has been the hotbed of terrorist outfits and political turmoil ever since the 1980s. Getting past the security clearance at the airport too is laden with additional steps.
According to established procedure, any VIP or key functionary of the government can be provided security only after approval from the Additional Chief Secretary (Home) in the UT administration.
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For this, a request must come from the department concerned to which the VIP belongs, following which the quantum of security is decided according to the threat assessment done by state CID and the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
However, Patel was accorded a Z- security cover.
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The conman from Gujarat arrested in Kashmir a month ago was finally handed over to the Gujarat Police late Thursday evening following the order of a magistrate in Srinagar. Patel posed as a senior official from the Prime Minister’s Office for four months, and took the administration for a ride, availing for himself Z-Plus security and official protocol in the Valley.
Gujarat officials had requested the transfer of custody, citing that he is also wanted in cases in the western state. After the order from the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Patel was handed over to a team of Gujarat Crime Branch officials.
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The arrest of the conman and the subsequent revelations of how he had taken the entire security system for a ride, have shocked many. The Jammu and Kashmir administration has ordered a probe into how he managed to remain undetected for four months.
Beginning October 25, when Patel landed in Srinagar with wife and daughter, it is now understood that he was provided with security cover at the behest of Pulwama DC Chaudhury’s call to J&K Police SSP (Security) Sheikh Zulfikar. Thereon, he was given a bullet-proof vehicle, two escort vehicles and 12 Sashastra Seema Bal gunmen. The SSB is one of the seven Central Armed Police Forces under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
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He is also believed to have met BJP leaders and local journalists, including BJP media-in-charge Manzoor Bhat. Beneath the hushed tones and unsettling voices of disquiet, two names, however, are ebbing their way to the surface: one Trilok Singh Chauhan who is a Rajasthan-based RSS functionary and Pulwama Deputy Commissioner, Baseer ul Haq Chaudhary, a 2015 batch IAS officer.
Insiders who refused to be named are joined in pointing fingers to the duo. However, does the buck stop there? Or were their liberties with power sanctioned by higher authorities?
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