In a big move ahead of Marwahi assembly by-election, a district level committee in Chhattisgarh's Mungeli district on Thursday suspended the caste certificate issued earlier to former chief minister Ajit Jogi's daughter-in-law Richa Jogi by district administration. The Caste Certificate Investigation Committee took the decision after they found response by Richa into the matter "unsatisfactory".
"The committee has now decided to send the matter for further probe to state level investigation committee," said Additional District Magistrate Rajesh Nashine to media. The decision was taken after three days of scrutiny of the documents submitted by Richa’s representatives.
Citing coronavirus-induced restrictions, Richa, wife of Amit Jogi, a former MLA of Marwahi, had sought more time from the committee for furnishing all the desired documents in original, but the committee had declined to do so.
It was speculated that if Janta Congress Chhattisgarh chief Amit Jogi could not contest the Marwahi bypoll scheduled to be held in November, then his wife Richa would do so.
Reacting to this, Amit Jogi issued a statement and said, "The caste certificate of Richa Jogi has been suspended with malicious intentions and to pressurise us politically, as the state government did not want our family to contest the bypoll."
He further said that in accordance with the amendment brought by Chhattisgarh government in Chattisgarh SC/ST and OBC Act 2013 against the norms in September 2020, the Mungeli Caste Verification Committee could only suspend Richa Jogi’s caste certificate but the polling officer has no other legal option but to accept the caste certificate.
"We have moved the High Court and have informed the Chief Election Commissioner in this regard,” said Jogi.
Meanwhile, complainant Sant Kumar Netam, who had challenged Richa’s caste certificate, also had filed a caveat in the court regarding the matter, sensing that the Jogis could seek legal intervention into the case.
Ajit Jogi had represented the Marwahi seat for 20 years and the Jogi family was desperate to keep the seat in by-poll to ensure that the family's political legacy remained intact.