New Delhi: The Central government has recommended action against a 2016-batch IAS officer of the Kerala cadre for allegedly submitting a fake Other Backward Class (OBC) certificate that allowed him to improve his UPSC rank.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has cancelled the OBC certificate of IAS officer Asif K. Yusuf, sources in the Kerala government told ThePrint.
In a letter to the chief secretary of Kerala, the DoPT has said the OBC certificate and income certificate issued by the tahsildar of Kanayanur Taluk office was “erroneous and incorrect”.
Kanayannur taluk is part of Kerala’s Ernakulam district.
The DoPT has also said Yusuf’s status as an IAS officer was not confirmed since he has failed to give his vigilance clearance as mandated by the government. The Centre has recommended action against the officer under sections of the Indian Administrative Service (Probation) rules and All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) rules.
ThePrint tried to contact Yusuf through calls and text messages but there was no reply. This report will be updated when he responds.
Officer had high rank but OBC certificate improved it
While Yusuf would have become an IPS officer on the basis of his original rank — 215 — in the UPSC, he was allotted the IAS on the basis of the OBC certificate.
Last year, a report by Ernakulam District Collector S. Suhas had said there were discrepancies in the income figures submitted by the officer on the basis of which his OBC certificate was issued, the sources said.
According to Suhas’s report, government rules state that the sons and daughters of persons having gross annual income of Rs 6 lakh or above for a consecutive period of three years would not be entitled to OBC reservation benefits since they would constitute the creamy layer.
However, according to figures obtained by the income tax department, the combined income figures of Yusuf’s parents for the financial years 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 are Rs 21,80,963, Rs 23,05,100 and Rs 28,71,375, respectively.
Misuse of OBC certificate not a rarity
A DoPT official said while the Centre has recommended action against Yusuf, the misuse of the OBC certificate was not by itself “a rarity”.
Last year, ThePrint had reported that the government did not allot any service to at least 30 candidates who cleared the civil services exam in 2017 after it came to light that they belonged to the creamy layer among the OBC, and were thus not eligible for quota benefits.
While 27 per cent of the total seats are reserved for OBCs in all government recruitment, including in the civil services examination, they need to satisfy the caste as well as ‘income’ criteria — unlike SCs and STs, who get reservation based on their caste status alone.
Since there is no way to establish whether the certificate provided by the officer is genuine or not, it is up to the recruiting authority to verify the certificates that are issued by local government officials.