About 2,000 practising advocates registered with the city’s bar council have degrees from the same college and university as AAP leader Jitender Singh Tomar who is in jail facing charges of faking his academic degrees, Delhi Police sources told HT on Friday.
The lawyers who submitted graduation degrees from Awadh and Bundelkhand universities and law degrees from Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University are now on police’s radar and their documents will be scrutinised, officials said, while the bar council too will conduct a verification drive.
Police launched a multi-pronged investigation after it arrested Tri Nagar MLA Tomar who was forced to quit as Delhi’s law minister this month for allegedly using forged academic documents — including mark sheets, a BSc degree, provisional documents and a law degree — to enrol as an advocate in 2010.
Sources said a 21-member team in Bundelkhand was probing apparent discrepancies in the admission procedure of the university there with investigators pulling student records of the past two decades.
“The arrest has opened a can of worms. If the degrees submitted by these advocates are found to be fake, fresh FIRs will be registered and more arrests made,” said an official. “The team of officers will return to Delhi within this week.”
Another official said while files from a particular year showed over 500 degrees were handed out, just 120 students had registered for the course.
“As we dug deep into the matter we found that several senior advocates practising in Delhi have got their degrees from the same university and law institute,” a police source said. “Our team investigating the case has accessed records showing who got degrees and certificates in the past 20 years. Among the names are some senior advocates practising in Delhi, Bihar and UP.”
The Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) asked all the advocates who submitted degrees from the three universities to tender affidavits assuring that the documents presented by them were genuine, said sources.
“The question is whether their degrees are forged or not. Even otherwise, Bar Council of India (BCI) has framed the rules of which BCD has taken cognisance and issued directions to all bar council members that enrolments have to be renewed now,” said KK Manan, president of Bar Council of Delhi. “I can concede that a number of lawyers will be found to have fake degrees. At present, there are about 70,000 lawyers enrolled with BCD.”