The trial court has pronounced the complaint against Union HRD minister Smriti Irani for allegedly giving false information to the Election Commission about her educational qualification, as “maintainable”. Metropolitan magistrate Akash Jain had reserved the order on June 1, after hearing the arguments on the aspect of limitation and whether the cognisance had taken place or not.
She has been accused of giving “false” information about her educational qualification in affidavits filed with the EC. The case will be heard on August 28. With the admission of a plea against educational qualifications Smriti Irani seems to be on a sticky wicket. The AAP has already raked up the issue and wants action against her just like it in case of Delhi law minister Jitender Singh Tomar.
Freelance writer Ahmer Khan had filed the complaint, alleging that Irani had purportedly given different details about her educational qualification in her three affidavits submitted to the Election Commission, while filing nominations for her candidature in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha polls.
Senior Advocate KK Manan, appearing for Khan, argued that Smriti Irani had said in her affidavit for 2014 April Lok Sabha elections, that she completed her BA in 1996 from Delhi University (school of correspondence), whereas in another affidavit of July 11, 2011 for contesting Rajya Sabha elections from Gujarat, she said her highest educational qualification was B.Com Part I from the School of Correspondence, DU.
The complaint alleged that in the affidavit filed for nomination for April 16, 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Amethi, Irani said she had completed a Bachelor of Commerce Part-I from School of Open Learning, DU. The complaint also says it is evident from the contents of the affidavits filed by Smriti Z Irani that, at best, only one of the depositions by her, on oath, in respect to her educational qualifications, is correct.
“The aforesaid affidavits of Smriti Irani, apart from the ostensibly false and discrepant statements in respect to her educational qualifications, also appear to contain false discrepant statements, in respect of immovable properties owned by her and other details set out by her,” it claimed.
The plea makes it clear that facts and circumstances reveal commission of offenses by accused under section 125A of Representation of People Act, 1951. Besides, any other offenses that may attract other penal provisions can be an outcome of an additional investigation.
Meanwhile, the BJP blamed “typographical error” for the alleged information on her false educational qualification submitted by HRD minister Smriti Irani and rejected any comparison between her and AAP leader Jitender Singh Tomar, who has been jailed in a fake degree case.
“One should know the difference between a fake document and a typographical error. Irani’s case is not of fake documents,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.
“You cannot compare oranges and apples. In Tomar’s case, there is a police probe. It has proved there is a criminal act of a fake degree, going ahead and contesting polls and then becoming the law minister,” another BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli said.