Alleged conman from Gujarat Kiran Patel, held in Jammu and Kashmir for posing as a top official of the Prime Minister Office (PMO), has been booked by the Ahmedabad cops on cheating and criminal conspiracy charges for trying to usurp a senior citizen's bungalow using the same tactic, an official has said.
Patel, a resident of the Ghodasar area of the city, was arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police earlier this month from a five-star hotel in Srinagar after the authorities grew suspicious about his activities.
On Wednesday, the Ahmedabad city crime branch lodged a case of cheating (Indian Penal Code section 420), criminal breach of trust (406), criminal conspiracy (120-b) and personating a public servant (170) against the alleged conman, said Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime, Chaitanya Mandlik, on Thursday.
Patel's wife Malini Patel has been shown as a co-accused in the FIR (first information report), he said.
"As per our information, four FIRs related to cheating have been registered against Kiran Patel in different police stations of Gujarat in the past. Since he is in judicial custody, we will try to bring him here through a transfer warrant," Mandlik said.
In the latest FIR, it is alleged that Patel tried to grab a bungalow in a posh locality in Ahmedabad by winning the trust of its owner through false claims of being a "Class 1 officer in the PMO" and having close relations with politicians.
The complainant, 63-year-old Jagdish Chavda, owns a bungalow in the Shilaj area but wanted to sell it because of personal reasons. Patel approached Chavda in February 2022, claiming to be a real estate agent, and told the owner his property would fetch a good price if it was renovated.
To win Chavda's trust, Patel then identified himself as a "Class-1 officer in the PMO" as well as a partner in a cafe chain.
When Chavda agreed for the bungalow's renovation, Patel, his wife Malini and an interior designer started the work and took Rs 35 lakh in instalments from him, the FIR said.
As renovation was underway, Chavda shifted to his friend's residence in the Shela area. After some time, Chavda learnt that Patel and his wife had put their own name plate outside the bungalow and also did a house-warming ritual as if they were the owners.
When confronted, the Patel couple left the bungalow without finishing the renovation work, following which Chavda and his family moved back into the house, according to the police.
In August 2022, Chavda learnt through a court notice that Patel had filed a civil suit claiming ownership of the property, said the FIR.
In August 2019, a city-based decorator had lodged a complaint in Vadodara against Patel and two others for allegedly duping him of Rs 1 crore.
As per the FIR registered at the Raopura police station in 2019, Patel along with two event organisers - Dipesh Sheth and Dhara Sheth - had approached the complainant, Paritosh Shah, to decorate Navlakhi ground in Vadodara for a Navratri event held in October 2018.
While the trio paid nearly Rs 50 lakh to Shah in various instalments for the work done, they started giving excuses to clear the remaining bill of Rs 1 crore, as per the FIR.
At one point, Patel even threatened Shah with dire consequences claiming he was politically well-connected. When the trio refused to pay the pending money, Shah lodged a complaint with the Raopura police in August 2019.
A similar complaint of cheating and breach of trust was registered against Patel in Bayad town of Arvalli district in August 2020.
As per the FIR registered by the Bayad police, Patel along with his brother Manish Patel and the latter's wife Darshna had convinced three persons of Bayad to invest their savings in tobacco and cattle feed business for good returns.
In all, the accused took Rs 1.75 crore from one Ashish Patel and two of his friends by promising high returns on their investments, said the police document.
When cheques given by the accused got dishonoured, complainant Ashish Patel and others sought their money back, following which, the trio returned nearly Rs 50 lakh, but refused to pay the remaining sum of Rs 1.25 crore, said the FIR.
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