Pimpri: In what comes as a relief to Pimpri-Chinchwad Mayor Nitin Kalje, the Divisional Caste Validation committee has finally approved Kalje’s claim that he belongs to the OBC community. Kalije received this letter on Monday.
On August 4, After hearing both sides, the Divisional Caste Validation Committee had held back its decision for another week. Kalje’s lawyer, Advocate Amit Avhad, had made a submission before the committee that Kalje belongs to the Kunabi caste.
Earlier, the committee had set aside the Vigilance Cell’s report, which termed Kalije’s caste claim invalid. By taking a reference of Kalje’s school leaving certificate, which mentioned his caste ‘Maratha’, the vigilance cell had set aside his claim. However, the Caste Validation Committee refuted the vigilance squad’s report.
When asked about the issue, Mayor Nitin Kalje said, “The committee has decided in my favour and declared that my caste claim was genuine. Committee’s decision has upheld our claim as we had submitted all relevant documents.”
It may be recalled that Mumbai High Court had ordered re-examination of Kalje’s caste certificate. Following this, the Vigilance Cell submitted its report to the District Caste Validation Committee. The committee had asked Kalje to submit all relevant documents in support of his caste claim.
It may be considered that Kalje was elected twice on a seat reserved for ‘OBC’ category. He recently became the Mayor of Pimpri-Chinchwad on a seat for OBC. Ghanshyam Khedekar, who lost to Kalje, had challenged his opponent’s claim in the Mumbai High Court. In April, the HC had ordered the vigilance squad attached to the Caste Validation Committee to re-examine Kalje’s caste certificate and submit a report.