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India arrests justice minister over ‘fake degree’

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Indian Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s President Arvind Kejriwal (C), and fellow AAP ministers alongside Jitender Singh Tomar (R) greet supporters in New Delhi, February 14, 2015. (AFP photo)

Police in India have arrested a New Delhi state minister following a complaint from the Bar Council of Delhi that the minister’s degree in law is fake.

State Minister of Law and Justice Jitendra Singh Tomar appeared in court on Tuesday to be formally charged for forgery. The Delhi High Court later sent Tomar on a four-day police remand.

Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said, “Based on the investigations and prima facie evidence, a case was filed against Tomar and he was arrested for cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy.”

Prior to Tomar’s arrest, on May 27, 2015, the university where the minister studied law, the Institute of Legal Studies in Munger,  filed an affidavit before the Delhi High Court, claiming that Tomar was a “bona fide student” and submitted attested copies of his admission register and marksheets bearing Tomar’s name.

Minister Tomar, himself, has denied the charges against him, and instead, accuses the country’s ruling party of meddling in the affairs of the local Delhi government.

The country’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) runs the federal government, which in turn controls the Delhi police force, as well as some of the city’s government organizations.

The Delhi government, however, is run by a different party, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

The BJP lost general elections to the AAP in India’s capital city earlier this year.

Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claims the BJP is now making efforts to undermine Delhi State’s administration by forcing its senior officials out of their posts.

By the same token, senior AAP leader Sanjay Singh called Tomar’s arrest a pressure tactic by the national government.

Singh complained that both “the Delhi police commissioner and the [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi government are trying to scare us with such tactics.”

“However,” he said, “we are not going to be scared.”

Minister Tomar is also a member of Delhi’s Legislative Assembly.


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