10/06/2015 2:31 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

My Degree Is Genuine, Says Delhi's Former Law Minister Jitender Singh Tomar

A supporter of the Aam Aadmi Party, or Common Man’s Party, waves the Indian flag next to a portrait of its leader Arvind Kejriwal and party symbol, broom, as he celebrates party's victory in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015. The upstart anti-corruption party has won a smashing victory in elections to install a state government in India's capital, officials said Tuesday, dealing a huge blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist party. Hindi below the portrait reads,

NEW DELHI — Delhi Jal Board Vice Chairman Kapil Mishra replaced Jitender Singh Tomar, who was arrested in a fake degree case, as Delhi's new Law Minister on Wednesday even as Tomar insisted that his law degree was genuine but resigned to save the Aam Aadmi Party from more embarrassment.

IANS reported Tomar as saying that his arrest was a conspiracy. The minister submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal late Tuesday, saying he did not want the image of AAP to be tarnished. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said Kejriwal accepted his resignation.

At a press conference yesterday, Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi said the arrest of Tomar was legal. "He has been arrested within the parameters of law. Soon he will be produced before a court," he said.

"There is no conspiracy behind the arrest. It is unfair to give it a political hue," he said.

Meanwhile, another AAP MLA's qualification is under the scanner. According to the Economic Times, the Delhi High Court is scrutinizing the degree held by AAP MLA Surender Singh.

A plea was filed in the Delhi High Court challenging Singh's election. The petitioner, BJP leader Karan Singh Tanwar, alleged that Singh "misrepresented that he has a BA degree in 2012 from Sikkim University which amounts to corrupt practice within the meaning of the Representation of the People Act" and asked the court to declare Singh's election as void, according to the ET report.

Writing for ET, Abhinav Garg, said the court also issued a notice to Singh on May 20 this year and asked him to reply to Tanwar's plea within four weeks. Tanwar alleged that Singh lied under oath after replies to an RTI query clearly stated thatthe Sikkim University did not have any record of a student named Surender Singh.

"As per the academic record of the year 2014-15 and all the past academic years, there is no student by the name Surender Singh," IBNLive quoted the RTI reply of the Sikkim University as saying.

"Singh has deprived the voters of Delhi Cantt their valuable right of having full and complete information as to his background and qualification," Tanwar said.

Meanwhile, PTI reported that the Delhi Police is probing the possibility of an organised racket behind the alleged fake degrees. "Our team has just reached Faizabad. There our Investigating Officer will take help of Mr Tomar in gathering evidence from there and whatever on-spot verification will be needed will be done," Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi told reporters.

Tomar claims to have done his BSc from RML Avadh University, Faizabad. Police has taken him there for an on the spot verification and questioning, sources said. Police may also take him to Munger in Bihar and repeat the exercise there.

Tomar had claimed to have completed his LLB degree from VNSL Studies, a law college affiliated to Tilak Manjhi Bhagalpur University of Bihar. Investigators are now trying to ascertain as to who made these alleged forged documents and whether an organised gang is behind it.

"Whether he made them himself or did he procure it from somewhere. If they were procured from somewhere, it will be important to zero down on the person who provided him these documents and if there is a racket, then who else did they provide such documents," he said.

49-year-old Tomar, MLA from Trinagar and a first-time minister, was remanded in four-day police custody by a Delhi court yesterday. He was escorted by an ACP level officer along with seven other personnel to Faizabad.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar criticised the Aam Aadmi Party, calling the incident a "blatant betrayal of law".

"The law degree of the Delhi Law Minister has turned out to be fake and he has been arrested. Despite being unmasked in public, AAP leaders and government are attacking the Centre. This is an example of the the pot calling the kettle black," Javadekar told reporters.

"This is the first instance of blatant betrayal of law by a law minister. The Delhi Law Minister should immediately resign over the fake degree case. Moreover, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal should apologise to the people," he said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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