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Officials who helped conman Patel in Srinagar yet to face action

NewsOfficials who helped conman Patel in Srinagar yet to face action

NEW DELHI: It has been more than three weeks that Kiran Bhai Patel, a Gujarat-based conman, was caught for visiting sensitive locations in Kashmir and attending meetings with officials there, under a Z+ plus security cover, which was provided to him on the direction of top Kashmir-based police officials. However, the administration of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha is yet to identify these officials or take action against them.
Central intelligence agencies have termed the whole incident, which was spread over months, as one of the biggest security lapses that the sensitive zone has seen. Official sources told The Sunday Guardian that Patel travelled to Kashmir and roamed there under a protection entourage of the Central forces at least three times this year.
The Sunday Guardian reached out to the office of Sinha, seeking details on whether any official/officials were identified for these lapses; if the administration had identified/was in the process of identifying the officials with whom Patel interacted; the kind of information that he was able to access; and if any accountability had been fixed on those top officials in the police department who gave him security cover without any proper verification.
No response was received from the LG’s office until the time this report went to press.
Officials with the central intelligence agencies monitoring the developments in Kashmir said that it was beyond “shocking” that Patel fooled the police administration in the valley for so long.
“Questions need to be asked to the state administration, which includes IAS and IPS officers posted in the region. If nothing, this is at least a reflection of the incompetence of the officials who provided him with government paid five-star hotel accommodation, the security cover of bulletproof vehicles and took him on tours to sensitive locations, in the mistaken belief that they would thus get a positive review from the PMO and get better postings,” an official source said.
Patel was arrested on 2 March from Srinagar, but the news was made public on 17 March. Patel even “toured” the Line of Control at the Uri sector—a trip that was facilitated by top state police officials. What has created concern among the security agencies in Delhi is that despite Patel sharing his bravado on social media, none of the state agencies were able to catch him. He was arrested only after inputs were shared with the Kashmir-based officials by Delhi.
According to sources, whether or not to provide security and what level of security should be provided is decided by the police administration. The bill for Patel’s stay at the five-star hotel was paid by the state officials.

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