He was recently caught pretending to be a part of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s security, but this was hardly 32-year-old Hemant Pawar’s first such escapade.
Pawar, personal secretary to a Member of Parliament from Andhra Pradesh, had similarly posed as a security member in March during the swearing-in of Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, an event where Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also present.
The security breach at Goa — investigators say Pawar never got close to the PM — emerged while police officials were investigating how he managed to enter restricted zones at Shah’s event in Mumbai in September.
Police, who arrested Pawar on September 6, found the full schedule of Shah’s two-day visit to Mumbai on his smartphone. Questioned about this, Pawar told them that a person, allegedly a representative of a political party, had given it to him.
It was this person who then told police that Pawar was present at the Goa swearing-in. Pawar allegedly told the political party representative that he was among the security personnel, following which the two had developed an acquaintance. The political party representative had shared Shah’s schedule with Pawar.
The Goa ceremony was attended by several VVIPs including Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Chief Ministers of several BJP-ruled states. Police said Pawar similarly attended several other political events. He would wear a Parliament access card to mislead people while attending these events.
Investigating authorities also revealed that Pawar had deleted several WhatsApp chats from September 4 and 5 — this was when the Union Home Minister visited Mumbai.
At Shah’s event, Pawar was wearing a white shirt and a blue blazer along with an identity card of the Ministry of Home Affairs around his neck. Assistant Commissioner of Police Nilkant Patil, who was overseeing the police bandobast, spotted him outside Eknath Shinde’s bungalow, Varsha, and even near Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’s bungalow, Sagar.
“Initially he assumed that Pawar was part of the security team, but when Patil saw him again outside the Sagar bungalow, he called and questioned him. Pawar had then said he was from a central government agency,” said a police officer.
After the Union Home Minister left for New Delhi, however, CRPF officials contacted the zonal deputy commissioner of police and inquired about the man. Pawar was caught at Mumbai’s Nana Chowk in Grant Road after a manhunt.
He was booked under IPC Sections 170 (personating a public servant) and 171 (wearing garb or carrying a token used by a public servant with fraudulent intent).
According to police, Pawar hails from Maharashtra’s Dhule district. Till the time he was arrested, he was working for an MP from Andhra Pradesh, they said.
His brother-in-law, in a statement to police, said that Pawar would come to Dhule once in two or three months and, after staying for a couple of days, would go back to Delhi.
In all this, one question shrill remains unclear: Why was Pawar posing as security officials? Though police have not been able to pinpoint a specific motive, they believe the man could have been after financial gain .
Said an investigator: “He has told people around him that he works at the offices of Prime Minister and Home Minister and under the pretext of getting their work done, we suspect that he has taken money from people.”