RDC to probe into alleged fake caste certificate

Bhubaneswar: The revenue divisional commissioner (RDC), northern division, Odisha, would probe into the fake caste certificates allegedly used by three Congress lawmakers including party`s Lok Sabha MP and former chief minister Hemananda Biswal. The state government have asked the RDC, northern division to probe into the allegations made by former Union tribal affairs minister and the state BJP president Jual Oram.

"We have referred the allegation against Hemananda Biswal and two others to RDC, northern division after getting a summon from National Commission for Scheduled Tribe," ST & SC Development secretary S K Sarangi told PTI adding that the RDC was the authority to probe into any allegation of fake caste certificates. BJP state president Jual Oram had earlier alleged that Biswal, who is the sitting Sundargarh MP, had won the seat reserved for ST.

"Hemananda belonged to Khandayat Bhuyan, which has not been granted the ST status. Only Bhuyan, Papdi Bhuyan and Pahadi Bhuyan enjoy the tribal tag. How can Biswal enjoy ST benefits, when he is not a tribal," the BJP leader asked adding that he had lodged a complaint with the commission in this regard.

The others named in Oram`s petition are Sundargarh MLA Jogesh Kumar Singh and Talsara MLA Prafulla Kumar Majhi. Biswal, who was the Chief Minister between 1999-2000, however, rubbished the charges. "Our caste has been Bhuyan for several generations. It is mentioned everywhere. Let there be an enquiry. I have never been a Khandayat Bhuyan and only time will say who is what," Biswal said.?

Talsara MLA Prafulla Majhi termed the allegation against him as "politically motivated." "Why Oram did not raise the question when he was the union tribal affairs minister in NDA regime," he asked. "I was not aware about the misuse of caste certificate when I was a minister at the Centre," Oram said.