BJD leader arrested in fake caste certificate case

Baripada: A ruling BJD woman leader and former BJP MLA from Baisinga in Mayurbhanj district was on Saturday arrested on charge of forging caste (tribal) certificate, police said.

The BJD`s women`s wing president of Mayurbhanj district Pramila Giri was arrested under section 467 (forgery), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document or election record) and 420 (Cheating) of IPC, said Sandhyarani Beuria, the officer-in-charge of Badasahi Police Station.

Giri, who was a member of the Odisha Legislative Assembly (OLA) from 2004 to 2009 representing Baisingha segment exclusively meant for ST candidates, had meanwhile joined the ruling BJD some time ago. She was elected to the Assembly on BJP ticket.

"This is a conspiracy against me by my political opponents. I will take up the matter with higher court," Giri told PTI over phone after her arrest.

Giri`s election to the Assembly as a scheduled tribe candidate was challenged by Congress leader Prabodh Kumar Panda, the president of Betanati block, in 2008.

Panda had lodged his complaint with the collector of Mayurbhanj. He alleged that Giri belonged to "Gopala" (milkman) caste under general category and not a tribal.

The case was later shifted to the court of Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), Central division, which in its order on Friday said that Giri belonged to "Gopala" caste and was not a tribal though she was married to an adivasi man.

Pramila Giri`s husband Rasika Chandra Giri, a former army man, has meanwhile passed away. "A person is tribal by birth and not by marriage," the RDC court said in its order, asking the district administration to initiate action against Giri.

Giri, in her caste certificate had mentioned that her father was Sudarshan Kanhra of Baguli village under Badasahi tehsil of Mayurbhanj district.

"However, according to a verification by the Tehsildar of Badasahi, Giri was not the daughter of Kanhara as she claimed in the caste certificate," said Anil Kumar Patra, the sub-divisional police officer (SDPO), Betanati.

Giri`s claim that she was a student of a Sevashram School at Baguli, also proved wrong as the school authorities said that they never had any student in the name of Pramilia Giri.

On the other hand, the tehsildar of Soro in Balasore district in his report to the RDC confirmed that Giri was daughter of Udaya Narayan Naik of Dandapalasa village. Naik was "Gopala" by caste under the general category. "Giri`s brothers and other villagers also confirmed that she was daughter of Naik," the Soro Tehsildar said in the report.

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