A high-powered committee appointed by Chhattisgarh government has concluded that former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi is not from an Adivasi community, Hindustan Times reported on Tuesday. At present, Jogi represents Marwahi in the state Assembly. The seat is reserved for Adivasi communities, and Jogi is likely to lose it.

The committee headed by Secretary of Department of Primitive Caste DD Singh was set up on the High Court’s directions in 2018. It concluded investigations on August 21, and directed the collector of Bilaspur district to take action against Jogi under Chhattisgarh Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes (Regulation of Certification of Social Status) Rules, 2013, reported The Indian Express. The police were asked to confiscate Jogi’s caste certificates. His benefits will also be withdrawn.

The former chief minister’s son Amit Jogi criticised the government panel, and accused it of not following established rules. “They have submitted empty papers to the chief minister of Chhattisgarh who has himself prepared the report,” Hindustan Times quoted him as saying. “The committee has not followed the principle of justice. We will challenge the committee decision in the court. The CM is having political vendetta against my father and me.”

Jogi’s Adivasi status was challenged in the High Court in 2001 by Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former National Commission for Scheduled Tribes Chairperson Nand Kumar Sai, and a complainant identified as Sant Kumar Netam. The court ruled that the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes do not have the power to conduct inquiries into such matters. Netam approached the Supreme Court on October 13, 2011. The top court decided that a high-powered committee would investigate the case.

The committee revoked Jogi’s caste certificates in June 2017. The former chief minister then challenged this decision in High Court, and on February 21, 2018, the court directed the government to reconstitute the panel.

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