A Sarpanch was among four including two Revenue officials who were booked by the Crime Branch Jammu for allegedly producing a fake Scheduled Caste certificate to contest Panchayat elections in Panchayat Halqa Bhajnow Nowhshera Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir.

As the seat was reserved for female Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates the accused allegedly managed a fake SC certificate with the connivance of the Revenue officials and joined the electoral fray.

The accused identified as Santosh Kumari had won the election of Sarpanch from the reserved constituency but after the election, her category certificate was challenged by her rival candidate Sheetal Kour's husband.

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Husband also booked for managing fake certificate

Spokesperson of Crime Branch Jammu said, "a criminal case under the relevant sections of law stands registered against suspects Sarpanch Smt Santosh Kumari wife of Bidhi Chand, her husband Bidhi Chand of village Bhajnova tehsil Nowshera district Rajouri; Akbar Hussain, the then Tehsildar Nowshera and Balvinder Kumar the then Patwari Nowshera for their involvement in obtaining and facilitating Scheduled Caste category certificate by fraudulent means."

This fake certificate was used by the beneficiary as genuine during the Panchayat election of Sarpanch in Panchayat Halqa Bhajnow Nowhshera Rajouri.

Rival candidate's husband lodges a written complaint

A written complaint was lodged by Joginder Singh son of Kasturi Lal of Bhajnowa with Crime Branch Jammu, alleging inter-alia that his wife Sheetal Kour resident of village Bhajnowa had contested election as Sarpanch candidate in a reserved category (SC) constituency against a lady namely Santosh Kumari, who was having a false and forged SC category certificate on the basis of which she won the election as a Sarpanch, whereas she belongs to Vashisht Rajput community as per the revenue record of her husband and her parents.

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Crime Branch spokesperson added that on receipt of this complaint, "a preliminary verification was conducted and during the course of the probe revenue records were obtained from the concerned authorities and it has been prima-facie established that the SC Certificate has been managed by the accused beneficiary in connivance with other co-accused persons viz Govt. officers/officials."

The omissions and commissions on the part of the accused are liable for the offenses punishable under section 420, etc under various sections of Law. Accordingly, a formal case is registered in the police station Crime Branch, Jammu against the above-mentioned accused persons and others for in-depth investigation.