RAIPUR: In a major setback to the former chief minister Ajit Jogi, a high-powered committee probing the status of his caste didn’t recognise him as a ‘tribal’ and reportedly rejected all his claims he recently produced before it in support of his arguments.
The high-powered panel under the chairmanship of the secretary (tribal welfare department) D D Singh in its report, according to the reliable sources, had concluded that Jogi doesn’t belong to the scheduled tribe (ST) and consequently will not be entitled to any benefit under the ST category. Singh couldn’t be reached for his comments. The committee that verified the authenticity of Jogi's claim has also asked the police to seize the documents related to his caste, TNIE has learnt.
The 73-year-old former bureaucrat-turned-politician who asserted himself as belonging to a Kanwar tribe has been embroiled in a deep controversy related to his caste background for the past several years.
Amit Jogi, son of the ex-CM and the president of regional outfit Janta Congress Chhattisgarh (J), questioning the impartiality of the panel, outrightly rejected its observations.
“The working of the high-powered committee is nothing but a politically motivated drama scripted by the chief minister Bhupesh Baghel. They had signed a blank document and handed it over to the CM to write whatever he wishes. Why the committee didn’t show us the evidence gathered against us despite our plea? We would have effectively countered it. We are not surprised with the panel’s report and will challenge it in the court. We hope the justice will prevail,” he asserted.
In June 2018, the high court had ordered to constitute a new high-powered caste scrutiny committee to examine Jogi’s caste status after he challenged the recommendations of the previous panel that were set up during the earlier regime of BJP under Raman Singh. The committee then led by the special secretary (SC-ST department) Reena Baba Saheb Kangale had also quashed his claim of belonging to Kanwar community of tribals.
Earlier in July this year, a double bench of the high court headed by the Chief Justice PR Ramachandra Menon asked Jogi to appear before the committee and to submit documents related to his tribal status within one month. He attended the hearing of the committee on August 21 and recorded his statement before the five-member panel.