Fake caste certificate row: police register case against Solapur MP

Lingayat seer Jai Siddheshwar Shivacharya Swami of BJP may face disqualification

March 06, 2020 01:28 am | Updated 01:31 am IST - Pune

More trouble:  Jai Siddheshwar Shivacharya Swami during a door-to-door campaign in Solapur.

More trouble: Jai Siddheshwar Shivacharya Swami during a door-to-door campaign in Solapur.

The Solapur district police on Thursday registered a case of cheating and forgery against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP and Lingayat seer, Jai Siddheshwar Shivacharya Swami, for allegedly submitting a fake caste certificate with his election affidavit prior to the Lok Sabha elections last year. With this, the Swami faces the prospect of being disqualified from his parliamentary position as an elected MP of Solapur LS constituency.

On Wednesday, the Solapur district sessions court had under Section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code directed the Sadar Bazaar police to file a case against the BJP leader.

Accordingly, the police lodged an FIR under Sections 420 (cheating), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), and 471(using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) to be read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

In the 2019 elections, Swami had trounced veteran Congressman and former Chief Minister Sushilkumar Shinde by a massive margin of more than 1.5 lakh votes to win the hotly contested Solapur seat.

The issue of the seer-turned-politico’s certificate was first raised by a Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) leader Pramod Gaikwad in January, who cast aspersions on the validity of the Swami’s caste certificate attached with his election affidavit.

Mr. Gaikwad alleged that the seer had, in his affidavit, mentioned that he belonged to the ‘Beda Jagam’ community under the scheduled caste category.

The VBA leader, however, claimed that the Swami’s nephew, Yogeshwar Sidhamayala, belonged to the ‘Hindu Jagam’ community, which falls under the other backward classes category and questioned as to how two members of the same family had different caste certificates.

The Prakash Ambedkar-led VBA has been demanding that the Election Commission disqualify the Lingayat seer’s election as Solapur MP.

Last month, the district caste validity committee, after issuing a show cause notice to the seer, had declared the Swami’s caste certificate invalid and forged.

The committee had accordingly asked the Akkalkot tehsildar to file a case against the Swami in a magistrate court under provisions of the Caste Certificate Act, 2000.

The court, acting on this complaint, had directed the Sadar Bazaar police to register a case against the BJP MP.

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