Panel invalidates Solapur BJP MP's caste certificate

Panel invalidates Solapur BJP MP's caste certificate

SOLAPUR: The caste certificate of seer-turned-politician and Solapur BJP MP Jaisiddeshwar Shivacharya Mahaswamiji was declared invalid on Monday by a district caste validity committee which directed that a case be filed against the parliamentarian.

Solapur seat is reserved for the Scheduled Caste (SC) category.

A copy of the order is with PTI.

A lawyer representing one of the persons who had complained to the committee about the seer's caste certificate said he could now be disqualified as Lok Sabha MP.

Swami had defeated senior Congressman and former Union minister Sushilkumar Shinde in the 2019 LS polls by over 1.5 lakh votes.

One Pramod Gaikwad had complained to the validity committee that Swami, in his election affidavit, had mentioned that he belonged to the 'Beda Jangam' community, part of the Scheduled Caste (SC) category.

Gaikwad had alleged that Swami was a Hindu Lingayat and sought a detailed probe into his caste certificate.

The three-member caste validity committee, led by Dnyaneshwar Sul, on Monday said Swami did not belong to the Beda Jangam community and declared his certificate invalid and forged.

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

Meanwhile, Swami's lawyer Santosh Navkar alleged the committee was working under "pressure" from the complainant.

"There is proof that wherever the vigilance squad went to verify documents, people from the complainant's side were with them. We had objected to the reports filed by the vigilance squad and had made applications to replace the squad but the committee did not take any cognisance," Navkar said.

He said the entire proceeding was carried out in a "hasty" manner and said they would approach the Bombay High Court against the caste certificate invalidation order.

Lawyer Sanjay Chavan representing the complainant said Swami, after Monday's order, can be disqualified as Lok Sabha MP.

"We will approach the (Solapur) district collector and submit an application for further action," Chavan said.

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