Fake degree case: All you need to know about Jitender Singh Tomar's arrest
On Tuesday Aam Aadmi Party MLA and Delhi Law Minister Jitender Tomar was arrested over allegations of submitting a fake law degree.
On Tuesday Aam Aadmi Party MLA and Delhi Law Minister Jitender Tomar was arrested over allegations of submitting a fake law degree in his affidavit filed before the Election Commission as procedure for contesting the Delhi Assembly elections.
Delhi Police arrested the AAP leader from his residence early this morning and took him to the Hauz Khas police station for further questioning.
Tomar has been charged under various sections of the IPC including 420 (cheating). A police team had also gone to Bihar on the direction of the court to investigate charges that he had used fake degrees.
The degree controversy
In April this year, the Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University in Faizabad and one of its affiliated institutes, the KS Saket Postgraduate College in Ayodhya, in reply to an RTI query, said Tomar's BSc second year mark sheet was fake and his degree was invalid.
Allegations were raised against Tomar in a writ petition filed in Delhi High Court in February this year by a lawyer, alleging that the AAP leader's undergraduate degree from Awadh University was not genuine, reports ABP.
The degree in question was used by him to get enrolled into the law college Bishwanath Singh Institute of Legal Studies College at Tilak Manjhi Bhagalpur University.
The affidavit filed by Tilak Manjhi Bhagalpur University before Justice Rajiv Shakdher as saying, "As per records, the provisional certificate with serial number 3687 was issued on July 29, 1999 to Sanjay Kumar Chaudhary for BA (honours) in political science. The certificate in Jitender Tomar's name is a fabricated document and does not exist in the university's records."
But interestingly, the BSILS College filed another affidavit before the Delhi High court claiming that Tomar had been a bonafide LLB student though he had completed his LLB in four years and not three years, in contrast to its parent university, the Tilka Manjhi University, which has said that the roll numbers given by Tomar do not match their records, reports the Indian Express.
On 11 May, The Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) informed the high court that it had suspended Tomar's licence after Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Avadh University (UP), where he claimed to have done his BSc from, and also said the minister's graduation degree was "totally fake." The High Court has asked BCD to file its inquiry report against Tomar.
"If it’s the case that the law minister’s degrees are fabricated, then he has no business to be in that position, Delhi government has to answer," former AAP member and senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan said when the controversy broke.
The Bar council on 27 May, directed the Law Minister to file the original certificates and degrees before the BCD for verification. But the minister has not yet produced them.
What Tomar claims
Tomar filed an application with the high court seeking directions to Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) to provide him with a copy of the inquiry report against him and the material available with the Council.
Tomar's lawyer contended that the minister was a "bonafide student" for three years in a law college in Bihar and has completed his course from there.
Tomar's counsel also said that the college met the standards prescribed by the Bar Council of India and claimed that a writ petition challenging it was filed with "malafide intention to malign the good reputation" of the Bishwanath Singh Institute of Legal Study College in Munger.
"So far as information regarding respondent no.5 (Tomar) are concerned, the records reveals that Jitender Singh Tomar.. was a student of this college in LLB Part I, II, and III in the session 1994-95, 1995-96 and 1997-98 respectively," the affidavit filed by the Institute's principal said.
Tomar's counsel alleged that BCD has not provided him a copy of the inquiry report but forwarded it to the Delhi Police instead. The court ordered the Bar Council to supply all relevant documents and the material on the basis of which the Council have proceeded against him.
"The truth will come out once the college documents (attendance register and admission form) appear in court. I will file a counter petition in court," Tomar said.
"A fabricated case based on lies cannot be reason to resign. My degree is 100 percent genuine, I have all documents to prove it," he had told NDTV.
Aam Aadmi Party defends Tomar
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has backed Tomar in the past saying that the minister's degree was genuine.
"I am not Tomar's relative or friend. I had sought an explanation from Tomar on the controversy. He gave a satisfactory answer and said he wasn't at fault as his degree is genuine," he had said.
AAP's Ashutosh on Tuesday blamed the police of mishandling Tomar while he was arrested. He alleged that the police threw the minister's driver out of the car. He also said that he was mishandled when he tried to enter the police station.
Reacting to Tomar's arrest, AAP leader Kumar Vishwas said that the Centre was scared and are using Delhi Police.
Manish Sisodia held a press conference where he said, "The way Jitender Singh Tomar was arrested is like the way a mafia is arrested. Is he a terrorist, has he set off a bomb in Delhi to be arrested?"
He also added that the college affidavit clearly states that Mr Tomar has passed his law degree.
This college affidavit clearly states that Mr. Tomar has passed his law degree: Deputy CM Manish Sisodia pic.twitter.com/D52TCWCBfm
— ANI (@ANI_news) June 9, 2015
'Tomar must take moral responsibility and step down'
Congress leader Ajay Maken demanded Tomar's resignation from Law Minister's post. Maken further said that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should take moral responsibility and step down.
He also attacked the AAP saying the party has been unable to bring the Jam Lokpal Bill, deliver on other promises and is wasting public funds. But he failed to give a substantial response on the fake degree issue.
"He talks about transparency and honesty so he should let the law take its course. The government should corporate with the police, as nobody is above the law. He hasn't been arrested for nothing. The police must have investigated thoroughly before arresting him. By accusing the government of attempting to suppress their voice will get them nowhere. It is their habit to blame the government," Upadhyay told news agency ANI.
Former AAP member and Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav took to Twitter to expressing his concerns with the party.
The real issue is not technicalities of Tomar's arrest; that's for courts to decide. Issue here is govt's and party's refusal to come clean.
— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) June 9, 2015
PB and I raised this question 4 months ago. If his degrees are genuine, why not make them public? Why hide behind court procedures?
— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) June 9, 2015
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