Facing embarrassment after a Gujarat-based cheater befooled higher-ups of the Jammu and Kashmir administration by impersonating a senior officer in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), authorities have started an internal inquiry to shift responsibility for this goof-up.

Although no official handout has been issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Police after arresting a fake officer of the PMO, sources said that a high-level inquiry has been initiated into how this cheater hoodwinked senior officers by impersonating an "Additional Director (Strategy & Campaign) in the Prime Minister's Office".

"This episode has exposed a lack of coordination among different government agencies working in the terrorism-plagued Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir", a source said, adding, "without verifying his credentials authorities for the last three months have been providing him all protocols and facilitating his visits to different parts of Kashmir Valley".

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Man impersonating as PMO officer was arrested in Srinagar

Jammu and Kashmir's police have arrested a man from 'Gujarat' allegedly by forged means posing as Additional Director (Strategy & Campaigns) Prime Minister's Office, New Delhi, in the summer capital Srinagar.

Sources said that top officers of Jammu and Kashmir police after getting specific information regarding a man identified as Dr. Kiran J Patel son of Jagdesh Patel posing as Additional Director (Strategy & Campaigns) PMO, New Delhi, swiftly acted and arrested the man.

Police said he was taken to Nishat police station where he confessed his crime. Ten visiting cards of different identities and two mobile phones were found in his possession.

Accordingly, an FIR no 19 of 2023 was registered by Srinagar police in Police Station Nishat reads "on 02-03-2023 reliable information received by Police Station Nishat has revealed that a fraudster namely Kiran Bhai Patel son of Jagdesh Bhai Patel resident of Gujarat has by criminal intention indulged in activities within the jurisdiction of this police station and other parts of Kashmir valley and by employing a high degree of forged means. Dr. Kiran J Patel has impersonated himself as a senior government official of India."

"He was presented before a magistrate who remanded him to the police custody till Friday. A deputy commissioner posted in one of the districts in the Valley had recommended him for security cover," a police source said. "The accused had been claiming that he had been deputed to identify apple orchards in south Kashmir areas. He impressed officials by dropping names of people in high places. This was his third visit to the Valley. During his present visit he had also gone to Gulmarg where he was purportedly looking for improvement in the hospitality industry," the source added.

A number of people have so far been questioned in this case. Reports also said that the same person is wanted in over a dozen other cases of fraud in Gujarat.

Three people reportedly part of the "official team" which was led by the accused, escaped from Kashmir. The sources revealed their identities as Amit Hitesh Pandiya, Jay Sitapara from Gujarat and Trilok Singh from Rajasthan, and that they were staying with Patel at a 5-star hotel in Srinagar.

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Managed to get Z-Plus security through forged means

As per reports Patel, through forged means, managed to get security from the Jammu and Kashmir police and was staying at Hotel Lalit in Room no 1107.

The fraudster as per reports had visited multiple places in Kashmir including Doodpatri in central Kashmir's Budgam district. At Doodpathri the fraudster was accompanied by an SDM rank officer.

The cheater also met at least two Deputy Commissioners during his visit to the valley.

According to reports, Patel was put under surveillance by J&K Police after inputs and alerts from New Delhi and the CID in Srinagar about his suspicious movement towards the end of February. He was trapped and arrested in Srinagar on his fourth visit.