Wednesday, April 24, 2024

PMO officer impersonation case: Delhi High Court imposes Rs 35,000 fine on accused

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday has imposed a fine of Rs 35,000 on Vivek Keshavan, accused of representing himself as an official working with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and seeking various privileges, including temple darshans, government accommodation, and cars.

Justice Navin Chawla imposed the aforesaid costs on Vivek Keshavan while addressing his plea against the trial court’s order framing charges against him. Vivek Keshavan was accused of offences under Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) read with 419 (cheating by impersonation) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Dismissing Keshavan’s plea, the Delhi High Court ordered him to pay the costs to the Delhi State Legal Services Authority within two weeks. Reportedly, the funds are designated to support counselling and psychological assistance for POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) victims.

Vivek Keshavan and an accomplice named Pramod Kumar Singh allegedly made calls to several government officials, posing as high-ranking officials from the Prime Minister Office. Pramod Kumar Singh, impersonating as the Principal Secretary to the PMO, requested government vehicles, accommodation, and darshan facilities for Keshavan during his purported visits to Pondicherry and Andhra Pradesh’s Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Board.

Meanwhile, Keshavan argued that he played no role in the scam, claiming that Singh had used his name and number to avail government facilities without his knowledge. He added that he received no personal gain from these alleged acts.

Nonetheless, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted evidence suggesting that government officials indeed contacted Keshavan’s phone number to confirm his visits and arrange services for him, including providing a vehicle and accommodation in Pondicherry.

Subsequently, the court concluded that there was sufficient evidence to frame charges against Keshavan and rejected his plea.  Justice Chawla observed that Keshavan’s argument regarding the misuse of his name and number by the co-accused was not tenable, given the prosecution’s contention and evidence.

With the dismissal of his plea, Vivek Keshavan now faces the continuation of legal proceedings against him in connection with the alleged impersonation and cheating offenses.


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