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Pressurized by CM not to pursue matter against Ajit Jogi: BJP leader

RAIPUR: In a new twist to the Ajit Jogi caste controversy, a BJP leader who had accused the former chief minister of having secured scheduled tribe status by forging documents, on Saturday claimed the PA of Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh had “pressured” him not to pursue the matter. Sant Kumar Netam alleged it was done at the behest of Singh and that his personal assistant O P Gupta even offered him money.
However, Gupta dismissed the charge as “baseless” and “unfounded”.
Netam had in 2001 complained to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes that Jogi had claimed scheduled tribe status on the basis of forged documents.
A high-level panel set up by the state government had earlier dismissed Jogi’s claim of being a tribal following which his caste certificate was revoked.
“Chief Minister Raman Singh’s PA O P Gupta called me to the residence of the CM on July 6 and pressured me to stay out of the matter,” Netam told a press conference.
“Gupta first called me on June 30 and told me that the CM wanted to meet me. I reached Raipur the next day, but the meeting didn’t happen. Gupta called me again on July 5 and asked me to meet at the residence of the CM the next day,” Netam said.
Netam claimed he met Gupta at the CM’s residence on July 6 and was told Singh wanted him to not pursue the matter further. He alleged that Gupta offered him to pay Rs one lakh.
Demanding an impartial probe into the entire episode, he said he would complain to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah and National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes chairman Nandkumar Sai about it. He claimed his life was under threat. Dismissing his claims, Gupta said: “Netam came to meet the chief minister at his residence a few days back on the day when CM meets common people. As Netam had to wait, he left the place disappointed. I don’t understand why he is making such allegations. Nothing of the sort he has alleged happened that day,” he said.

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