In a major embarrassment for the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi, Tilak Manjhi Bhagalpur University told the Delhi High Court that Law Minister Jitender Singh Tomar’s law degree was "fabricated and doesn't exist in the university's record."
The university in Bihar, where Tomar claimed to have studied law, said in its records the provisional certificate with his serial number was issued to a different person: Sanjay Kumar Chaudhary who appeared for the B.A. (honours) political science examination in 1998. Tomar had reportedly enrolled as a lawyer on the basis of this certificate.
“The provisional certificate bearing No. 3687 allegedly issued to Mr. Tomar... appears to be fabricated with an attempt to give a legal status to the issuance of his degree,” said the university’s inquiry report.
This report was submitted to the High Court on Monday in response to a writ petition alleging that the minister’s law degree was fake.
Justice Rajiv Shakdher asked the minister to respond by August 20. The court also directed the Bar Council of Delhi to probe into the matter and submit its report as soon as possible.
48-year old Tomar is a first-time minister. He has faced questions over his educational qualifications since he was named a minister.
A court had earlier asked an Uttar Pradesh college to confirm Tomar's graduation degree in science after similar allegations had surfaced.
Meanwhile, Tomar rejected opposition calls for his resignation. "A fabricated case based on lies cannot be a reason to resign. My degree is 100 per cent genuine, I have all documents to prove it," he told reporters.
But that didn’t stop the opposition from attacking AAP. “Those people who spoke about ethics in politics have been unmasked. People of Delhi want answers from AAP for the way you reached here (gained power) by making false promises,” said BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi.
"The law minister must be sacked," Congress leader Ajay Maken said on Tuesday.
Opposition parties also demanded that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal step down, owning “moral responsibility”.
According to The Hindu, Jitender Singh Tomar is the second law minister to embarrass AAP. His predecessor Somnath Bharti fell from grace in January 2014 after he led a controversial midnight raid that targeted Nigerian women in a south Delhi residential area.