Tomar’s arrest reopens Smriti Irani wounds
In a surprising move, the Delhi police arrested Delhi’s Law Minister Jitender Singh Tomar in the early hours of Tuesday in an alleged fake degree case. The arrest came in the backdrop of deepening <g data-gr-id="35">crisis</g> between Delhi government and Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung under whom Delhi police functions. Tomar was later produced in court and sent to four-day police custody.
In its first reaction, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said the arrest was a fall out of vendetta politics on part of the Central government and in reaction to the reopening of the CNG fitness scam probe. The party also expressed serious concerns on the way Tomar was picked up from his office on the pretext of questioning but driven to <g data-gr-id="36">police</g> station by the probe team.
“He was arrested like a mafia or terrorist. He is a minister of Delhi government, he was not escaping anywhere. The matter regarding controversy on his law degree is still pending in Delhi High Court,” said Manish Sisodia, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister. The party leaders also alleged the police team misbehaved with <g data-gr-id="31">minister</g> and his driver.
Meanwhile, AAP also raised the alleged fake degree issue of Union Minister for Human Resource Development Smriti Irani and some ministers in Union Government against whom cases are pending.
“Smriti Irani too had <g data-gr-id="29">similar</g> case of fake degree against her but why was no action taken against her. There are ministers in the Central government who have rape charge against them,” said AAP leader Kumar Vishwas in an indirect reference to Union Minister <g data-gr-id="30">Nihalchand</g>.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh alleged that Centre is using “pressure tactics” against Delhi government.
“The Lt Governor, Delhi Police Commissioner and the Modi government are trying to scare us with such tactics. But we are not going to be scared. Our fight against corruption will continue,” said Singh. AAP leaders also questioned the timing of the action.
“On Monday night LG appointed a new officer as chief of Anti-corruption Branch and in the morning they arrested Tomar. It seems LG fears that the CNG scam has reached his doors,’ said Sisodia asserting that those to attempt to eradicate corruption from Delhi would be booked. Delhi Assembly Speaker Ramniwas Goel also expressed concern on the way Delhi police arrested Tomar.
“The police should have taken the permission of the speaker before arresting a member of the house, I was not even informed. I will take the opinion of legal experts to decide <g data-gr-id="76">future</g> course of action including breach of privilege against Delhi Police Commissioner,” said Goel.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday rubbished Aam Aadmi Party charge that the arrest of Delhi Law Minister was a conspiracy hatched in his ministry saying it had not ordered the arrest.
“The Ministry of Home Affairs does not indulge in such activities. The law takes it own course. There is no interference by the MHA in any such matter,” Singh said.
He was responding to reporters’ query on <g data-gr-id="74">arrest</g> of Delhi Law Minister Jitendra Singh Tomar on charges of cheating and fraud in obtaining <g data-gr-id="75">law</g> degree.
When it was pointed out that a minister in NDA government at the Centre was facing similar charges, Singh said an arrest is made on specific allegations.
The Police Commissioner BS Bassi, however, in the morning denied any knowledge of the case. However in the evening a detailed press conference was held by Delhi Police. “The arrest was made as per procedure. We have followed each and every rule,” said Deepak Mishra, Special Commissioner of Police (Law & Order). The FIR against the Minister was lodged on a complaint received from Bar Council of Delhi that law degree presented by Tomar were forged.