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Top columnist, top fraud? The curious case of Nilim Dutta

Was Nilim Dutta, Executive Director, Strategic Research & Analysis Organisation and columnist for several publications including Tehelka and The Indian Express, not what he seemed to be?

In a fantastic story, almost as film worthy as the story of Frank Abagnale who was featured in the Spielberg film Catch me if you can, it turns out that Dutta, who has written several articles for leading publications contesting the theory that there was an influx of illegal immigration into Assam from Bangladesh, may not be who he claims to be at all.

Nilim Dutta: Image from his Twitter account

Nilim Dutta: Image from his Twitter account

Dutta was arrested from his home by the Assam police, after it purportedly received complaints of impersonation and bounced cheques against him.

"He claimed to be the director of Strategic Research and Analysis Organisation and a researcher on Bodoland from the Union home ministry. Over the last two years, he stayed in at least four city-based hotels and duped them. While he owes at least Rs 1 lakh to two hotels of Paltan Bazar, another hotel in Dispur is to get around Rs 3.5 lakh from Dutta," said a policeman at Dispur police station to The Times of India.

Dutta, who has over 4,500 followers on Twitter, took to the social media site to tweet that police had arrived at his house and had assaulted him, when they came to his residence with an arrest warrant.

Following initial outrage on the arrest however, new details emerged of the arrest and on Dutta himself, which not only pertain to bounced cheques, but also question if he is, indeed, who he claims to be in the first place. The Strategic Research & Analysis Organisation is now said to not even be a real organisation, with police officials saying that no such company has been registered with the government.

This Prime News clip, said that he had also pretended to be a RAW agent:

Dutta wrote several articles, including 'Don’t blame the immigrant' for the Indian Express, "The Myth of the Bangladeshi and Violence in Assam" for Kafila and was also a regular columnist for Tehelka.

Following his arrest, another six complaints have been filed by different travel agencies and hotels of bounced cheques.

He has been charged under sections 420 (cheating), 406 ( criminal breach of trust) and 522 (Indian Companies act) of the IPC.

He was also charged with assaulting a police officer at the time of his arrest.

A step by step account of Dutta's arrest and revelations surrounding him can be found on this Twitter account by Gaurav Sharma.