UP: Pak woman who won 2015 panchayat poll in Etah booked for cheating

Bano Begum, who has been living in India for nearly 40 years on a long-term visa, was elected village panchayat member.

Etah police have charged a 65-year-old woman with cheating after the district administration discovered that she had hidden her Pakistani nationality to contest the 2015 panchayat elections from a village here.

Bano Begum, who has been living in India for nearly 40 years on a long-term visa, was elected village panchayat member. Later, she was nominated as officiating village pradhan following the death of the elected village head. Last week, she resigned from the post after the administration began an inquiry into a complaint against her.

The authorities found that Bano was staying on a long-term visa in India and had hidden facts while filing her nomination papers for the panchayat elections.

“On the basis of a complaint filed by the district administration, an FIR has been registered against the woman late Friday. She has been booked under IPC Section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property),” said Etah Senior Superintendent of Police Sunil Kumar Singh.

The police will also investigate how Bano, who is illiterate, got Aadhaar and voter cards in her name, the SSP added.

On whether the woman violated visa norms, Singh said: “The investigation will find out these facts and further action will be taken on the basis of the findings.”

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Her name has been deleted from the voters’ list, Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Jalesar) SP Verma said.

Meanwhile, a departmental inquiry has been ordered against village secretary Dhyan Pal Singh on whose recommendation Bano was made the officiating pradhan. Notably, Dhyan Pal Singh is also the complainant against Bano.

According to the district administration, Bano came to India in the 1980s and got married to one Akhtar Ali, a resident of Gudahu. After marriage, Bano never returned to her home in Karachi. She stayed in India on a long-term visa, which was regularly extended, as she did not get Indian nationality.

Station House Officer of Jalesar, KP Singh, said the visa was renewed for two years by the government last year.

Additional District Magistrate Vivek Kumar Mishra said the report on Bano’s case has not been sent to the state government so far.

It was found that proper procedure was not followed in declaring Bano the acting Pradhan.

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