Lucknow. Police and officials here are perplexed on what action to take as a man certified as dead got elected as MLA from a constituency near here in eastern UP.
Authorities say a nephew of Rameshwar Lal produced a death certificate showing that he died of diabetic coma in 2010 to convince police to drop an arrest warrant against him for allegedly participating in a 2004 gang rape.
A living Rameshwar Lal later ran in, and narrowly won in recent elections in the state. In his campaign, his supporters shouted, “Rameshwar Lal zindabad”. But shortly after his victory, the fake death certificate surfaced with his name on it.
“The advantages of procuring a death certificate rather than a clean chit are many. A death certificate can be used against all future allegations whereas a separate clean chit may be required for each individual instance,” explained the nephew when quizzed on why he did not opt for a clean chit.
“He presented his Aadhar Card, PAN card and an affidavit stating that he had no criminal record,” said R L Sharma, the election officer, “Apparently we found nothing wrong with his documentation to have him disqualified.”
On the subject, veteran actor Pran Saab spoke thus among his last words, “Death Certificate ise pulees se bachaye rakhega aur affidavit supreem court se”. Indian politicians have been ranked at number 1 for their Survival Quotient (SQ) in a recent international study of politicians from 101 countries by Forbes.
“I have done no wrong. Go and file a case against my nephew if he has produced a fake death certificate. The gang rape charge against me was in any case malicious and a conspiracy by the opposite party to frame me”, an unrepentant Rameshwar Lal countered the charge, “The law will take its own course; I have been elected democratically by a popular vote, please tell me under what section should I resign?”
The party president defended Rameshwar, “Even if the Supreme Court ruling were to be applied retrospectively, Rameshwar has not even been prosecuted leave alone been convicted in the gang rape case, therefore his contesting the election is perfectly okay.”
“In addition to the declaration regarding criminal background now we should also start taking another affidavit from all contesting candidates that they have never been dead and neither have they ever been pronounced dead by a death certificate”, suggested an official to keep the process paper tight for future.