NEW DELHI -- A Delhi court today declared a petition challenging the educational qualifications of Union Minister Smriti Irani as “maintainable.”
Ahmer Khan, the freelance writer, who filed the complaint, will now have to prove his allegation that Irani has submitted false college documents to the Election Commission over the years.
While the next hearing on the matter has been set for August 28, Irani's case is likely to become an intensely politicised affair especially after the Bharatiya Janata Party has embarrassed the Aam Aadmi Party-government over the alleged fake degrees of its former law minister Jitender Singh Tomar.
AAP's spokesperson Ashutosh said on Wednesday that Irani should receive the same treatment as Tomar, who was arrested earlier this month after being charged with forgery and cheating.
Khan alleged that in April 2004, Irani claimed to have completed her BA in 1996 though a correspondence course from Delhi University. But her affidavit in 2011 said that she studied B.Com from the School of Correspondence, DU, according to the complaint. And, last year, her affidavit said she did her undergraduate degree in commerce from the School of Open Learning, Delhi University.
"It is evident from the contents of the affidavits filed by Smriti Irani that at best only one of the depositions by her on oath in respect of her educational qualifications is correct," the complaint said, PTI reported.
Congress Party leader Ajay Maken said it was a "conflict on interest" for Irani to continue as a union minister while the case was pending.
Court has found the matter cognizable, trial is going to start soon, the matter will be investigated: Ajay Maken,Cong pic.twitter.com/OPqORKfzJb— ANI (@ANI_news) June 24, 2015
Is it not conflict of interest that she remains Education Minister of country while the matter will be under Court's jurisdiction?Ajay Maken— ANI (@ANI_news) June 24, 2015
Congress Party activists demanded Irani's resignation on Wednesday.
Delhi : NSUI and Youth Congress activists burn effigy of HRD minister Smriti Irani demanding her resignation pic.twitter.com/TC1njv8PTp— ANI (@ANI_news) June 24, 2015
Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy pointed out the allegations against Irani still had to be proved and he advised the Congress Party to "pipe down."
Since Smriti has not been summoned it means the Complainant has not yet proved there is a prima facie case. So for now Smriti has no issue— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) June 24, 2015
Congi better pipe down. TDK was caught in her 2004 affidavit telling a blatant lie on Cambridge Univ degree.— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) June 24, 2015