The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) had faced protests from within over the issue of Jitender Singh Tomar’s law degree before but the party chose to support the Tri Nagar MLA.
Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan, now sacked from the party, had raised the issue soon after the results of the February 7 elections were announced, sources said.
The issue has become an embarrassment of sorts for the party with the opposition parties seeking chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s resignation on moral grounds.
“The allegation was first leveled by the BJP candidate who Tomar had defeated. The party said it could not doubt its MLA based on what a losing rival was saying,” a party source said.
Bhushan again raked it up when party chief Kejriwal chose Tomar for his cabinet and went on to make him the law minister. Tomar said on Tuesday his degree was 100 per cent genuine and there was no reason for him to resign as demanded by the BJP and Congress.
A Bihar-based university from where Tomar claims to have obtained his degree on Monday told the Delhi High Court that the provisional certificate was not genuine. Tomar also holds the portfolios of tourism, art and culture, and home.
Days before he was sacked from the party last month, Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav wrote to Kejriwal, reiterating their demands for transparency, more autonomy to state units, better volunteer engagement and regularisation of various party panels.
“The duo demanded action for lapses. According to them, making Tomar a minister despite his degree being branded as fake must be investigated. The allegation didn’t carry much weight then because the two were attacking the party left right and centre,” another party source said.
The party, which stormed to power mainly on its anti-corruption plank, still stands firmly with Tomar. “The matter is in court. He will respond to the allegation in court on August 20 when the matter will be heard next,” said a party spokesperson.