It was a city where he claimed to have spent three years attending college but on Wednesday, former Delhi law minister Jitender Singh Tomar appeared to be a stranger in Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad.
Police sources said the Tri Nagar legislator didn’t know the location of his college and the way to the university to which it was affiliated. He appeared clueless from the moment he set foot in the city, officials said a day after being arrested on charges of forging a number of academic documents.
To confirm if Tomar had even been to the Ram Manohar Lohia Awadh University, police asked him to lead the way. The perturbed former minister first acted confused and eventually gave up, meekly accompanying the officials to the institution with a blank look on his face, sources said.
His woes had just begun. After reaching KS Saket College, where the 48-year-old claimed to have done his B.Sc, he was asked to identify his class and lecture room but again fumbled. That was the final give away, police said.
“He had no idea about the college building, the classrooms, examination department, canteen or the administrative office. Whenever we asked him anything, he just gave a blank look. At first, he gave muddled up replies but then he quit and chose to keep quiet all throughout,” officials said.
Tomar’s arrest – the first ever for a Delhi minister – was the latest in a string of blows for the Aam Aadmi Party, whose credibility has been dented by one crisis after the other since its emphatic victory in the February city polls.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has appointed Delhi Jal Board vice-chairman Kapil Mishra as Tomar’s replacement and his bail plea will be heard by a trial court on Thursday.
The AAP has accused the Centre of trying to stymie its anti-corruption efforts with senior leader Ashutosh saying those who opposed the Modi government had to “pay the price”.
But the police -- vilified by the AAP for charging Tomar with faking mark sheets, a BSC degree, provisional documents and a law degree – seems to have had the last laugh.
At KS Saket College, Tomar was dumbstruck when he was asked to list a few names from the faculty of the course that he pursued.
“If he had attended classes for three years, he would remember at least one name from the faculty but he was clueless. He could not even name a single staff member in the university or college,” an investigating officer said.
The ex-minister couldn’t even locate the area where he had claimed to have rented a room and lived for three years to attend college, officials added. His woes further deepened after his name and roll number weren’t found in the university’s admission register.
“Not only did the principal and the controller of examinations denied having any student in his name, the B.Sc teachers who have been teaching in the college for over 10 years failed to recognise Tomar. In their statement, they clearly mentioned they never had a student by the name of Jitender Singh Tomar,” police sources said.
Still, the AAP leader didn’t give up, submitting another set of documents that he said were his original degrees but were soon found to be fake, sources said.
After 12 hours in Faizabad, Tomar’s next destination is Bihar’s Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University, where the former minister says he obtained the law degree. His ordeal may only be beginning.