Documents obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act provisions have shown major discrepancies in a probe conducted into a complaint regarding fake caste certificate used by a mining department official in MP to get government job benefits.
After fresh complaint by an RTI activist filed on the basis of these documents, a high power scrutiny committee of the state tribal development department has reopened the inquiry against the official.
"We got the complaint and after getting permission to reopen the case from the general administration department we have started a fresh inquiry," Sanjay Varshneya, in-charge of the secretariat of the high power committee told HT.
Documents obtained under the RTI by activist Punit Tandon show that the name of the original complainant in the case (Rajkumar Verma) is different from the person (Rajkumar Sharma) who presented an affidavit before the high power scrutiny committee saying that he had not made any complaint in the case.
This affidavit was made the main basis by the scrutiny committee in 2006 to reject the complaint against the officer, Vinit Austin, now posted as director of the mining department.
Austin's caste certificate documents submitted to the government show him as Gond (tribe) community member, thus making him entitled to the benefits of scheduled tribe communities.
Interestingly, the departmental note-sheet in the inquiry case too mentions the name of the complainant as Rajkumar Verma in place and Rajkumar Sharma, the (RTI) documents show.
The signature of the complainant in the original complaint and the affidavit claiming ignorance of matter are also different.
Not only this, the signature and seal of the headmaster of the Mission Primary School, Betul, from where the school leaving certificate of Vinit
Austin’s father (mentioning his caste as Gond) was issued in 1939 is same as the signature and seal of the headmaster who authenticated the certificate in 2006 when the probe into the case was held (copies of all documents available with HT).
It was on the basis of this certificate of his father that Vinit Austin claimed himself as Gond community member.
Finding these discrepancies, the RTI activist filed a fresh complaint in the matter.
"The point I want to make is about the negligence or deliberate ignorance shown by the scrutiny committee while probing the case in 2005-06. How can an affidavit presented by someone made basis to reject complaint by someone else?" Tandon said.
When contacted, Vinit Austin said that after getting to know about the reopening of the case, he has already made a representation to the government that his documents had already passed the scrutiny and that he was being harassed.
"But if they want to inquire the matter again, I have no issues," he told HT.