The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has stated that former Mumbai NCB chief Sameer Wankhede prima facie "belongs to the Scheduled Caste" (SC) as per the available documents but maintained that the final report of the district caste certificate scrutiny committee is awaited.
On Mr Wankhede's claim of harassment, the NCSC has recommended registration of an FIR under relevant sections and stated that the investigation should be conducted by the police officer, not below the rank of assistant commissioner of police.
Fighting allegations raised by Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik that Mr Wankhede had forged documents to secure a government job, the officer had last November presented his original caste papers to prove that he is a Dalit to National Commission for Scheduled Castes chairperson Vijay Sampla.
Mr Wankhede was then heading the Mumbai zone of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and handled the probe in the cruise drugs case in which Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan's son Aryan Khan was arrested.
Nawab Malik had alleged that Mr Wankhede forged his caste certificate and other documents to secure a job as an IRS officer under the SC quota after clearing the UPSC examination. He also said Mr Wankhede is a Muslim by birth, a claim the officer had denied. “Sameer Wankhede belongs to SC community as per the available documents so far," the NCSC said.
The authority also informed that the district caste certificate scrutiny committee is examining the veracity of the petitioner and the final report is awaited. The police authority has also informed that the matter is sub-judice, it said.
The commission also observed that the matter is investigated by lower rank police officers and the constitution of the SIT is not in accordance with the provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 (as amended).
The Mumbai Police had set up the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to verify the caste certificate of Mr Wankhede.
He had complained of harassment by Mr Malik and approached the NCSC.
The commission recommended that the SIT be dissolved immediately as there is no provision in the act concerned.
An FIR should be registered under the relevant sections and the investigation should be done by the police officer, not below the rank of assistant commissioner of police, the panel said.
"The copy of FIR along with the Action Taken Report (ATR) be submitted to the commission within seven days failing which an emergent hearing may be fixed by the commission. The Maharashtra caste scrutiny committee may expedite the matter of verification of caste certificate of petitioner Sameer Wankhede and submit a report within one month," the NCSC said.
The commission also expressed its displeasure over the absence of the Maharashtra principal secretary, Home, the state director general of police and Mumbai Police commissioner. It asked the officials concerned to make a representation during the next hearing scheduled on March 7, the report said.
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