‘Forgery’ In Odisha Rural Polls: Case Lodged Against Kujang BDO, Sarpanch

Jagatsinghpur: A forgery case has been registered against Kujang Block Development Officer (BDO) Soumyashree Panigrahi and Paradipgada sarpanch Sasmita Behera for allegedly submitting false affidavit and documents during panchayat polls nomination filing.

Rival candidate for the sarpanch post Laxmipriya Behera came to know about fraud from documents sought by one Mihir Kumar Patra through RTI Act, 2005, in March. She alleged that BDO, who was also the election officer, helped the Sarpanch in the fraud. While the affidavit submitted to BDO on January 19 was not signed by Sasmita and there was no witness during the swearing before the Notary Public, the one received from the Public Information officer had the signature of the sarpanch and two witnesses, sources said.

Alleging that Sasmita did this in connivance with the BDO, Laxmipriya lodged a complaint against both at Kujang police station on April 20. When the IIC allegedly refused to receive her complaint, she moved JMFC, Kujang, on May 16. The court directed the local police to register a case against them and submit a report.

While Kujanga police have registered a case against the duo under IPC Sections 465,466, 471, 171-G and 34, no one has been arrested so far.

“The affidavit filed by Paradipgada sarpanch was invalid as deponent’s signature was missing.  When my client sought affidavit papers for verification, Sasmita’s signature was present in the document. Without BDO’s help, she would not have been able to make changes in the affidavit,” Gatikrishna Satpathy, lawyer of the complainant, said.

The sarpanch, however, refuted the allegation. “I had submitted three sets of affidavits and the signature was mistakenly missing in one of them. Had I been involved in forgery, I would have failed to file my nomination papers and contest the election. My opponents are jealous since I won with a huge margin,” she added.

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