Remember Kiran Patel, the conman caught who faked as a senior PMO official before being caught last year? In what can be called a replay of the same modus operandi, a civil engineer, currently unemployed, was caught allegedly impersonating as an Officer-on-Special-Duty (OSD) to the Union Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah. Identified as Robin Upadhyay, 48, a resident of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, the accused claimed to have been a professional working with various multinational companies for over 25 years, sources said.
According to the police, Upadhyay was eying the post of Vice President-cum-Project Coordinator for the Ganga Expressway project. The matter came to light when one Akshat Sharma lodged a complaint with the Cyber Police Station in New Delhi. Sharma reported having received an email on his official ID from a seemingly fraudulent email address, allegedly belonging to Rajeev Kumar, the OSD to the Union Home Minister. In the email, the impersonator instructed Sharma to ensure Upadhyay’s appointment as the Senior Associate Vice President-cum-Project Coordinator for the Ganga Expressway Project.
In their probe, the police found the email ID, firstname.lastname@example.org, was a sham account created solely for deceiving individuals. Through technical surveillance, the police team successfully identified the prime suspect, Robin Upadhyay. Further analysis revealed that the email had been created six to seven days prior and was registered under Upadhyay’s name. Acting swiftly, the authorities traced and detained Upadhyay at his residence in Meerut on Saturday evening. Subsequently, he was arrested in connection with the case, as confirmed by Hemant Tiwari, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police in New Delhi.
During the interrogation, Upadhyay confessed to his crime. He said being a civil engineer, he possessed extensive experience in civil construction projects and researched ongoing highway projects and their progress to find a place for himself.
Interestingly, this incident follows a similar occurrence earlier this year, where Kiran Patel from Gujarat was apprehended for impersonating a senior official from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Patel had successfully deceived officials in Jammu and Kashmir, availing himself of Z Plus security and other privileges. In a more recent case, Mayank Tiwari, also from Gujarat, was arrested for posing as a PMO official, attempting to secure admission for two children in a private school and swindling substantial amounts of money from the school using his fake identity.
Questions arise regarding the authenticity of the ID proofs submitted by the accused individuals. Surprisingly, in Patel’s case, he presented a visiting card printed in Ahmedabad’s Maninagar area, a well-known hub for printing services. The incident has raised concerns about the accessibility of official stamps to nondescript printing firms. Patel was charged with violating various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including personation, cheating, criminal conspiracy, and breach of trust.
The incident also brings to light the recent scandal involving Hitesh Pandya, a senior official in the Gujarat Chief Minister’s office, has further compounded the situation. Pandya’s son, Amit Pandya, was part of Kiran Patel’s fake ‘official team’ and enjoyed the perks of Z Plus security and official accommodation.
After images of Amit in the company of security forces surfaced, the Jammu and Kashmir Police summoned him for questioning. In light of these events, Hitesh Pandya tendered his resignation, stating his concern for the reputation of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Office.
After serving as a Public Relations Officer (PRO) in the CMO for nearly 22 years, Hitesh Pandya submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel.
Even as the authorities vow to dig out the nexuses and put an end to the nefarious activities, questions remain on the security mechanisms of top leaders of the country, especially in the cyber space, that are so easily and repeatedly being breached by stray individuals.
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