For the past several months Gujarati conman Kiran Bhai Patel, who has been acting as an “Additional Director (Strategy & Campaigns) in the prime minister’s office” in Kashmir, has met a number of people discussing strategies about policy matters including tourism promotion, elections and the border situation.
On his first visit to Kashmir in October 2022, Patel, according to the BJP’s spokesman Manzoor Ahmad Bhat, sought details about election-related issues.
“One day I got a call from Delhi. The man introduced himself as a senior official from the PMO. He wanted details about whether the situation is conducive for the elections in J&K and I told him that situation in Kashmir is normal after the abrogation of Article 370. I gave him an assessment of development and peace in J&K after the abrogation of Article 370,” Bhat told Outlook.
“Later he called me after seven or eight days saying he is staying at the Lalit Grand Hotel and sought a meeting. I visited him as a public representative. He introduced me to his wife saying she has done exemplary work during Covid-19. He also told me he has been posted election in-charge J&K in the PMO and might need my assistance for some programmes. I told him I can only give any assistance after he furnishes an official letter from the PMO. After that, I left. And since then I had no contact with him,” Bhat said.
Bhat said he was surprised to see his security detail and presumed he was a top official from the PMO seeing the security around him. “But I got suspicious when he told me he is on a secret mission of sorts. That was unbecoming of any PMO official,” he says. He says the crucial question in the incident is to see who provided him with Z-security cover and on whose orders. "Anyone could have got misled by the security he was having," Bhat says.
In his subsequent visits to the Valley, Patel enjoyed full protocol and hospitality as he visited one tourist destination after another. His high security would start from the Srinagar Airport and then continue to stay with him during his visit. He has also visited the border area in Uri, according to the sources.
Jammu and Kashmir police on Friday issued a formal statement on the incident saying they arrested a man from Gujarat posing as a senior official of Prime Minister’s Office in Srinagar on March 3 and the man is currently under police custody. The police said the CID wing of J&K Police gave information to the police about the arrival of an impersonator in Kashmir.
The statement reads SSP Srinagar immediately sent a team led by SP East to the Grand Lalit hotel. “He was identified as Kiran Bhai Patel son of Juddesh Bhai Patel of Ahmadabad. He was impersonating himself as Additional Director (Strategy and campaigns) PMO New Delhi. As his replies were found suspicious, he was taken to Police Station Nishat where he admitted his crime,” the statement reads.
It says ten fake visiting cards and two mobile phones were seized from him. Patel was arrested on March 3 and since then he is in police remand. “Many relevant persons have been examined in this case. The case is at the initial stage of the investigation. Further details of this case will be shared later on.”
Patel’s Twitter handle is verified as Dr Kiran J Patel. His bio reads, PHD (Commonwealth Uni, Virginia) MBA (IIM TRICHY), M. Tech (Computer Science) , B. E. Computer (L D Engineering), Thinker, Strategist, Analyst, Campaign Manager.