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Aug 19, 2019-Monday



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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Odia youth who posed as Oxford professor, IAS officer arrested

The forgery came to light when a businessman began making enquiries about 27-year-old Avinash Patra who had promised him big returns from Microsoft in UK.

india Updated: Aug 20, 2017 01:00 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Avinash Patra gave out letter with forged signatures of a senior IAS officer to dupe businessmen into giving him money.
Avinash Patra gave out letter with forged signatures of a senior IAS officer to dupe businessmen into giving him money.(Facebook)

His visiting card says he teaches at Oxford and is a recipient of the Order of British Empire (OBE), one of the top honours given by the queen. And his website says he is an India-born, award-winning British writer.

In reality, 27-year-old Avinash Patra is a two-bit fraudster from Odisha’s coastal Kendrapara district.

Police arrested him on Friday for duping pharmacy owner Umesh Agarwal of Rs 70 lakh in western Odisha’s Nuapara district.

Patra took the money between 2009 and 2013, promising big returns from Microsoft in the UK.

When the businessman pressed for his money, Patra gave Agarwal a letter with forged signatures of a senior IAS officer in September 2016.

The letter says Agarwal will get Rs 2.19 crore from JPMorgan Chase Bank of UK.

The forgery came to the police’s notice after the IAS officer Bishnupada Sethi, who is the state rural development secretary and special relief commissioner, registered a complaint against Patra for forging his initials.

Police said Patra was taken into custody in Bhubaneswar. A letter pad and rubber stamp were seized from him.

Patra has the gift of the gab and is quite eloquent in convincing people about his fake British identity.

He befriended Agarwal during a visit to Nuapara and proposed the investment options.

The pharmacy owner was taken in by the words of “an Oxford University professor and an author”, police said.

Calling himself an OBE, he had suffixed the title before his name on his Twitter handle.

“He even has his own website,, where he describes himself as an India-born British writer and winner of British Writer of the Year 2010 award,” an officer said.

Investigation revealed Patra had had faked an invitation from Buckinhgam Palace for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in April 2011.

He took the local media for a ride flaunting the “wedding invitation”, saying he was a second-year graduation student in Indology in a New York university.

First Published: Aug 19, 2017 18:39 IST

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