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Man poses as photographer to gatecrash ‘Page 3’ parties, caught after two years

He was arrested after the hotel’s guards identified him from a photo they had earlier been given by the police, the investigating officials said.

delhi Updated: Apr 27, 2019 07:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Gatecrash,Page 3 Parties,jailed
A 25-year-old man, who reportedly posed as a newspaper photojournalist to attend a “Page 3 party” at a five-star hotel in the capital on Thursday, has been nabbed by the police.

A 25-year-old man, who reportedly posed as a newspaper photojournalist to attend a “Page 3 party” at a five-star hotel in the capital on Thursday, has been nabbed by the police.

According to the police, Ashish John was a “habitual gatecrasher” at high-profile social events and “Page 3” parties. He was arrested after the hotel’s guards identified him from a photo they had earlier been given by the police, the investigating officials said.

Madhur Verma, deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi) said, “John would eat and drink at the venues, take photos with celebrities and sometimes steal from them. He has been at it for over two years.”

The DCP said at one such event at a hotel in Patel Nagar in 2017, John was caught red-handed stealing a mobile phone from the pocket of a guest. He was arrested and jailed then, the DCP added.

The police also said that there were various occasions when John was caught stealing at the social events, but the hosts decided not to pursue the case legally as they believed he was a member of the media fraternity.

An editor with the publication, John claimed to be employed with, said that he never worked with them and that the staffers were “appalled and shocked” on learning of his alleged crime.

John’s profile on social media platform, Instagram carried his photographs with a host of celebrities including film actors, TV personalities and a cricketer.

In his profile, John described himself as a ‘Bollywood fashion photographer’ and mentioned the newspaper as his employer.

According to the police, John does not even hold a degree in journalism. “He does not have parents and lives in west Delhi’s Moti Nagar. He got hold of a camera and began attending events at various hotels and was a regular visitor at the Constitution Club and the Press Club in Delhi,” an investigator in the case, said.

The police said they received frequent inputs – mainly from other journalists — about John gatecrashing events held in the city, but they got hold of his photograph only last week.

“On Wednesday, he was attending an event organised by the media house he posed to be a photojournalist with, but the staffers realised the fraud. They then tipped off the police, but John left before he could be caught,” said another officer. But John’s photos had already been shared with the staffers of the hotels in New Delhi, he added.

“On Thursday evening, one of the guards at a five-star hotel realised that John was the same man in the photo shared a day earlier. He alerted the organisers of the event and the police. John was caught from the event’s venue. He had signed his real name, but had identified himself as the same newspaper’s photojournalist,” said the DCP.

The suspect allegedly faked employment with several news organisations over the past two years, the investigator said. “John is fluent in four languages – Hindi, English, Marathi and Punjabi. He has the gift of the gab and would easily sneak close to celebrities , “ he added.

A case of cheating was registered against John, police said.

First Published: Apr 27, 2019 05:25 IST