The Nagpur Police have arrested a man from Ahmedabad for allegedly impersonating as Bharatiya Janata Party chief JP Nadda’s personal assistant in an attempt to dupe party MLAs, the Hindustan Times reported on Thursday, citing the police.

Neeraj Singh Rathod, a resident of Morbi in Ahmedabad district allegedly demanded money from the MLAs for a Cabinet berth in the Maharashtra government. Rathod was arrested on Tuesday after BJP MLA Vikas Kumbhare lodged a police complaint, reported The Indian Express. The conman has been booked under Sections 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and 511 (punishment for attempting to commit offences punishable with imprisonment) of the Indian Penal Code.

“The MLA received the first call on May 7 and Rathod said he was a personal assistant of the BJP chief and subsequently offered him the post of the urban development minister,” a police officer said.

Rathod had allegedly contacted Kumbhare five times in 10 days. The police said that in one of the conversations, an accomplice of Rathod posed as Nadda and asked Kumbhare to arrange food for a BJP event in Baroda. The MLA was also told to pay a bill of Rs 1.67 lakh.

Besides Kumbhare, Rathod had allegedly contacted MLAs Tekchand Savarkar, Tanaji Mutkule and Narayan Kuche for Cabinet berths in the Maharashtra government in exchange for lakhs of rupees, an unidentified senior police official told the Hindustan Times. He added that the conman also allegedly called two other legislators – one from Nagaland and another from Goa.

“We are investigating whether any other persons are involved in the racket,” said Nagpur City Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar.

Mukund Thakre, the in charge of Kotwali police station in Nagpur, said that none of the MLAs from Maharashtra whom Rathod had contacted, did not pay him the money. However, unidentified officials told the Hindustan Times that one of the legislators did pay some amount as advance money.

In a similar incident in March, the Jammu and Kashmir Police had arrested conman Kiran Bhai Patel for allegedly impersonating an additional director for strategy and campaigns in the prime minister’s office. The authorities had said that he got facilities normally given to officials from the prime minister’s office, including a bulletproof car, security personnel and official accommodation at a five-star hotel in Jammu and Kashmir.

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