Spotlight back on Smriti Irani issue

HRD Minister Smriti Irani.  

The arrest of Delhi Law Minister Jitender Singh Tomar on Tuesday for allegedly forging his academic degrees has brought the spotlight back on Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani who has been found making contradictory statements under oath about her education in affidavits filed along with nomination papers for the Lok Sabha polls in 2004 and 2014.

“If Tomar can be arrested for a fake degree, why not Smriti Irani,” became the subject of a heated discussion across media platforms with some politicians also weighing in. Reacting to the arrest, Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat said: “Tomar arrest apart from rights and wrongs, how come same standard does not apply to Smriti Irani?”

National Students’ Union of India president Roji M John tweeted: “Hope the Delhi police will also arrest BJP ministers who filed false affidavit” and tagged Ms. Irani. Given her high profile, it was Ms. Irani who attracted the biggest amount of caustic remarks. Minister of State in the Modi government Nihal Chand — against whom there is a rape charge — came a distant second.

In 2004 — when she contested from the Chandni Chowk constituency in Delhi — Ms. Irani declared her educational qualification as “B.A. 1996 Delhi University (School of Correspondence).” But in the affidavit filed by her for the 2014 Lok Sabha election from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, she deposed that she had done “Bachelor of Commerce Part-1, School of Open Learning (Correspondence), University of Delhi-1994.”

As per the School of Open Learning, Part-1 is the first year of the three-year programme. Her affidavit while filing the nomination for the Rajya Sabha election in 2011 also cites B.Com Part-I, School of Correspondence, University of Delhi, 1994.

Mr. Tomar has been accused of not only lying under oath about his educational qualifications in the affidavit filed for elections for the Tri Nagar Assembly segment in this year’s Delhi polls, but also forging the documents.

A Delhi court is hearing a case under The Representation of the People Act, 1951, against Ms. Irani and an order on taking cognisance of the complaint is expected on June 24.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 1:09:02 PM |

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