Union human resource development minister Smriti Irani on Saturday appealed to the University of Delhi to reinstate the five officials suspended for allegedly leaking documents related to her educational qualifications.
BJP's Smriti Irani greets the audience after she takes oath of office at the presidential palace in New Delhi. (AP Photo)
Follwing media reports on the suspension issue, she tweeted, "Since DU is an autonomous institution I have put forth my personal appeal to the VC to reinstate the officials."
Delhi University (DU), however, said no official was suspended in connection with the purported leaking of documents about Irani's education.
Terming reports on suspension of five non-teaching staff "incorrect", a statement by DU vice-chancellor Dinesh Singh said "the University has learnt that no suspension order has been issued to any employee of the School of Open Learning."
Earlier in the day, Irani said she was open to scrutiny. "In public life one should be open to scrutiny and criticism. So am I," she wrote on the micro-blogging site.
Reacting immediately to Irani's tweet, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said: "Thanks Smriti for appealing to VC DU for reinstating DU officials. Now let people of this country know your actual educational qualification?.
Earlier, he had attacked the Narendra Modi government over the suspension of the university officials.
Read: Now, Cong targets Munde on educational qualification
"5 officials of Delhi University suspended for leaking HRD Minster's educational qualification details!Does this Govt believe in transparency," Singh had posted.
Taking another potshot at the government, he had said, "ACHHE DIN AA GAYE HEIN. Would anyone stand up for the suspended officials of DU?"
Read: 5 DU staff suspended for leaking Irani's papers
Meanwhile, DU's media coordinator Malay Neerav, who had on Friday told the media about the suspension, said there had been a "communication gap" on the issue.
"There was some communication gap. I had spoken to senior officials of SOL and was informed that five officials were were being suspended. However, no order was passed. So the media reports are incorrect," Neerav said when asked to clarify on the issue.
Irani is at the centre of an ugly controversy over her educational qualifications and a mismatch in the information provided by her in two election affidavits.
When contesting the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, she mentioned her qualifications as Bachelor of Arts (BA) which she passed in 1996 from DU's School of Correspondence.
2004 affidavit | 2014 affidavit
However, in her affidavit for this year's Lok Sabha election, the actor-turned-politician mentioned her educational qualification as "Bachelor of Commerce Part I, School of Open Learning (Correspondence), University of Delhi - 1994."
The Congress voiced strong protests against an "undergraduate" being appointed the HRD minister and the BJP countered it with questions about Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's academic background.
(With IANS and PTI inputs)