As the probe by the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Police progresses, more details have emerged about the sprawling network the alleged conman Kiran Patel operated in Gujarat and other places.
The Union Territory Police have now arrested two persons Amit Pandya and Jai Sitapara, who both had accompanied Mr. Patel during his J&K trip and subsequent arrest.
Both were let off by the Police while arresting Mr. Patel for posing as an additional director of the PMO in the first week of this month.
However, the police have now arrested both. As per the details, Mr. Pandya runs a company that supplies CCTV cameras and IT related products and his father Hitesh Pandya is an old hand in the Gujarat CMO working in the public relations (PR) branch in the CMP since 2002.
In fact; Mr Pandya is active in the state BJP’s social media wing. “He is very innocent but got trapped,” his colleague from the social media wing said, adding “he hardly uses his father’s name also”.
So far, the state BJP has not made any statement, while Hitesh Pandya said he was not aware of his son’s friendship with Kiran Patel.
However, it’s not clear why the Union Territory Police allowed both to go and then called back and arrested.
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Another person Jay Sitapara is from Saurashtra and has been seen with Kiran Patel in many places.
Mr. 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,” said a police official.
According to Surat’s Diamond baron Dinesh Navadia, Kiran Patel had reportedly 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 to 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,” Mr. Navadia told local media in Surat.
Mr. Navadia said that he sensed that there was something amiss and therefore he did not entertain him much.
Besides, one more name of an RSS worker has also emerged who was apparently accompanying the alleged conman during his trips to the union territory. There is, however, no clarity since when the RSS affiliated person, who is said to be from Rajasthan, knew Kiran Patel and what did they do in J&K.
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Since October last year to March, he made at least three trips including one with his family, visited sensitive areas escorted by the top tier security cover and stayed in the five accommodations.
In Gujarat, he has duped many people in the name of getting government contracts or clearances or even transfers and postings.
He did not even spare a monk of the powerful Swaminarayan sect and duped him of several crores for helping in a land related dispute. However, there was no complaint to the police regarding the incident.
“He cheated and duped many people but out of fear, none came forward with any complaint,” said a police official.
Also, according to those whom he interacted with, with the name dropping of top ranking political figures, bureaucrats and others and lavish lifestyle, he would impress and trap people in his design.
“He did not impersonate for the first time and got arrested. He had been doing it for the last several years,” said a businessman.
Today, in Gujarat assembly, Congress legislator Shailesh Parmar raised the issue of the alleged conman and said it was the failure of the intelligence agencies and the police to identify and nab the person while he was openly operating in Gujarat and elsewhere.