Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Sambalpur, Apr 14:
The State Level Scrutiny Committee (SLSC) has directed Ramesh Patua, BJD MLA from Rengali constituency in Odisha’s Angul district, to appear before it on April 20 to answer charges of submitting a fake Scheduled Caste (SC) certificate while filing nomination for the reserved seat in the Assembly election in May last year.
It may be mentioned that RTI activist Sanjay Kumar Chhuria had filed two petitions in the SLSC over the issue. But as the petitions failed to elicit any response from SLSC, he later moved the Odisha High Court.
After hearing Chhuria’s petition, a single judge bench of Justice BK Patel had directed the SLSC on August 13 last year to act on the plea at the earliest, preferably within three months from the date of order.
The issue of fake caste certificate came to light after Independent candidate and retired OAS officer Gangadhar Mahananda from Rengali Assembly constituency moved the RDC (North) and the SSLC chairman alleging that Patua had submitted a fake SC certificate while filing his nomination papers.
Mahananda argued that Patua belongs to ‘Chippi’ caste, which comes under OBC/SEBC category.
However, Patua managed to get a certificate mentioning his caste as ‘Patua’ from Rengali tehsildar by virtue of the report of the assistant Revenue Inspector (RI) of Laida.
Maintaining that there is no revenue record in the name of Ramesh Patua or his father late Mahendra Patua, Mahananda cited the case of one Premanand Patua whose caste was ‘Chippi’.
On the other hand, Patua said his certificate was obtained legally and is correct. Member of SLSC and Deputy Secretary to RDC (North) Upama Kalo said the MLA will be issued a notice after the Vigilance submits its report.