Gujarat: Vadodara resident arrested for posing as PMO official

PTI, Jun 24, 2023, 3:09 PM IST

Credit: iStock photo

A man from Gujarat’s Vadodara city has been arrested for posing as a PMO official to secure the admission of two children in a private school here and trying to dupe it of huge sums with his fake identity, an official said on Saturday.

The arrest of Mayank Tiwari on Friday comes months after an Ahmedabad resident, Kiran Patel, was held from a five-star hotel in Jammu and Kashmir for posing as a senior official from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Hospitality apart, Patel had also enjoyed security cover by tricking officials in the Valley.

Identifying himself as a director (strategic advisory) at the PMO in New Delhi, Tiwari first got in touch with the school and its trustee in March 2022, during the admission season, said the official from Waghodia police station in the city.

Tiwari, a middle-aged man, sought the school’s help with the admission of two sons of his “family friend”, whom he described as Indian Army official Mirza Baig and said he was being transferred to Vadodara from Pune, the official said.

The school’s director asked Tiwari, whose WhatsApp status said he was a “PMO official”, to meet the trustee, who is also associated with a private university in Vadodara. To impress upon the trustee, Tiwari told her that he could use his clout as a “PMO official” and get the school involved in the field of education research and get them various projects if they took care of the expenses, the official said.

The smooth-talker took the trustee and the school’s director into confidence with the intention of cheating them of huge sums, said the first information report (FIR). He also secured the admission of the two children as special cases, the official said.

A few months later, the trustee had doubts about Tiwari’s claims of being a PMO official and the education research projects mentioned by him. She then started talking to people in her circle and made a discrete inquiry about Tiwari, the official said. The trustee later found out that Tiwari was not a PMO official and had conned them by spinning a tale about his “immense influence”. Also, his profession was not clear, said the FIR. The trustee then alerted the school last month.

On a complaint by the school administration, the Waghodia police on Friday registered a case against Tiwari under Indian Penal Code sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 420 (cheating), and 170 (personating a public servant) and arrested him. Tiwari is the second person, after Kiran Patel of Ahmedabad, from Gujarat to have been arrested in recent months for claiming to be a PMO official. Patel was on his third visit to the Kashmir valley with his fake identity when he was nabbed by security officials on March 3. Till then, had enjoyed top-class hospitality and security cover in Kashmir by claiming himself to be a senior official in the PMO.

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