BHOPAL: A high level committee of the MP tribal welfare department has found that the ST certificate issued to Betul Lok Sabha BJP MP Jyoti Dhurve to be fake. The committee has now informed the principal secretary of the tribal welfare department who in turn is expected to inform the High Court about it. The high court, in response to a petition, had ordered that the certificate for ST status issued to Dhurve be verified by the state government.
Jyoti Dhurve's membership of the Lok Sabha will now be under a cloud as a copy of the decision will go to the Lok Sabha secretariat too. Dhurve, however, has the option of appealing against the decision at the High Court and Supreme Court.
Interestingly, the BJP government had appointed Jyoti Dhurve as chairperson of the MP State Scheduled Tribes Commission prior to her being given the ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections in 2009.
Sources at the mantralaya said that the high level committee had called the MP for a hearing on April 1 and recorded her statements. The committee did not find the relatives mentioned by the MP as conforming to the ST status claimed by her. The committee then examined the matter and came to the conclusion that the MP's ST status was questionable.
The High Court while hearing a petition filed by Shankar Pedram at Jabalpur, who questioned the ST status of the MP, had asked the state government to verify the certificates. Pedram had claimed he was a tribal and the Betul Lok Sabha seat was reserved for tribals.
Pedram told the media that Jyoti Dhurve should resign from the Lok Sabha.
Jyoti Dhurve has been elected MP in 2009 and 2014 from Betul.
A petition was filed after the 2009 elections, but the ruling did not come before the 2014 elections. Dhurve contested the 2014 elections on the same certificate.
State Congress spokesperson KK Mishra said that the Election Commission of India should immediately take cognizance of the matter and terminate Jyoti Dhurve's membership of the Lok Sabha.
He demanded that an FIR be registered against her too.
"She has denied genuine tribals the right to hold office," he said.