The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Chargesheet jolt to Jogi
Ajit Jogi

New Delhi, Oct. 7: The CBI today chargesheeted Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi for “fraudulently” using a forged document to sully the reputation of an Intelligence Bureau special director, the organisation itself and the central government.

The chargesheet, which came a day after the Election Commission announced the schedule for Assembly polls in five states, was filed in the additional chief metropolitan magistrate’s court in Kakardooma. The court will take cognizance of the chargesheet tomorrow.

The CBI said it charged Jogi for “dishonestly” or “fraudulently using as genuine a forged” IB note. Investigations have revealed that Jogi had flown to Delhi on March 29 for a meeting and claimed he was handed over purported IB documents listing his assets.

The next day he met special director Padhi, whose signature was on the documents, for a casual talk, but did not crosscheck whether the documents were genuine. The CBI has also found that the signature was forged. Sources said Jogi should have tried to verify the genuineness of the documents as he knew Padhi well.

On March 31, Jogi sent a letter to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee enclosing a copy of the note and alleging that the government was misusing the IB to defame political rivals in an election year.

The CBI also alleged that without confirming the authenticity of the documents, Jogi made 100 to 150 copies and distributed them in public to harm the reputation of the special director, the IB and the Centre.

With Chhattisgarh scheduled to go to polls on December 1, the chargesheet has provided fodder to the chief minister’s rivals. The BJP joined former Congress leader Vidya Charan Shukla, Jogi’s rival in Chhattisgarh, in demanding the chief minister’s resignation on “moral grounds”.

But Jogi stood his ground. “The whole thing reeks of political vendetta,” he said. “It is a cheap, pre-poll stunt.”

Jogi’s party backed him to the hilt. Left with little option before the polls, the Congress said it could not ask him to resign because of the “flimsy and frivolous” chargesheet.

“We have not asked Jogi to resign. We treat the so-called chargesheet filed by the CBI as a malignant political exercise. It is a half-baked case which has been fabricated by the CBI in an unholy hurry. It is an election gimmick and will not stand scrutiny of the court,” chief spokesperson S. Jaipal Reddy said at a media briefing late this evening.

The strong defence followed party chief Sonia Gandhi’s hurriedly convened meeting with senior colleagues. It did not take much time for the leadership to come to the conclusion that Jogi could not be dumped at this late stage when the party has to go to polls on December 1.

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