Raipur: A high-level scrutiny committee set up by the Chhattisgarh government has dismissed former chief minister Ajit Jogi's claim of belonging to a Scheduled Tribe (ST), an official in Raipur on Tuesday.
Jogi, in his reaction to the yet-unpublished findings, said they were false, and alleged that the committee was influenced by the Congress government in the state. The high-powered certification scrutiny committee was formed on the order of the Chhattisgarh High Court in 2018. The panel, headed by DD Singh, Secretary, Tribal and Scheduled Caste Development Department, finalised the report last week, a senior government official said in Raipur.
It concluded that Jogi failed to substantiate his claim of being a member of Kanwar community, a Scheduled Tribe, and hence all the caste certificates declaring him to be a tribal stand cancelled, the official said, quoting the report.
The committee also authorised Bilaspur collector to carry out necessary proceedings under the Chhattisgarh Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes (Regulation of Social Status Certification) Rules, 2013, the official said.
Besides, it ordered confiscation of all caste certificates issued to Jogi in the past, he added. In 2011, the Supreme Court had ordered the then BJP government in the state to form a high-powered committee to scrutinise Jogi's caste certificate.
The committee, headed by Reena Kangale, then special secretary of the Tribal and Scheduled Caste Development department, held Jogi's caste certificates as invalid in June 2017.
Jogi moved the high court, which ordered that a new committee be formed to examine the case. The former chief minister appeared before the new committee on 20 August.
Reacting to media reports about the committee's findings, Jogi insinuated that the Congress government led by chief minister Bhupesh Baghel influenced it. "This is not a high-powered committee, rather it is Bhupesh Baghel-empowered committee. I will challenge the outcome in the high court as well as in the supreme court," said Jogi, MLA from Marwahi in Bilaspur district.
"Till 1986, when I was an IAS officer, no one raised an objection to my caste status. As soon as I got elected as a Rajya Sabha member of Congress (after quitting IAS), my caste status was challenged in the high court," he told reporters. As many as six high court decisions before and after the formation of Chhattisgarh were in his favour, he claimed.
"The present panel did not follow principles of natural justice and did not give me enough opportunity to prove my claim," Jogi alleged.
In 2001, BJP leader Sant Kumar Netam had alleged in a complaint to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes that Jogi's claim to be a tribal was based on forged documents. The present chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Nandkumar Sai, also a BJP leader, had filed a petition in the court over the issue.
The case ended up in the apex court which ordered the state in October 2011 to form a committee to decide the issue. Jogi was the first chief minister of Chhattisgarh. He quit the Congress in 2016.
Updated Date: Aug 28, 2019 10:31:38 IST