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Court agrees to hear plea on Smriti Irani’s qualification issue, setback for BJP

Smriti-IraniAfter the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the fake degree syndrome seems to have hit the ruling BJP at the Centre as a local court here on Wednesday took cognizance of a complaint filed against Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani for allegedly giving false information about her educational qualification and ruled that the same is ‘maintainable’.

The court, while responding to a complaint lodged by freelance writer Ahmer Khan against the Union HRD minister for allegedly misleading the Election Commission by giving ‘false’ information about her educational qualification, fixed August 28 for recording pre-summoning evidence in the complaint filed against Irani.

“It is held that the present complaint case is filed under limitation (of time). Cognizance is taken. The matter be now fixed for pre-summoning evidence on August 28,” Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain said.

In his complaint, freelance writer Ahmer Khan had alleged that Irani, in her three affidavits before the Election Commission (EC) while filing nominations for her candidature for Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha polls, had purportedly given different details about her educational qualification.

Senior advocate KK Manan, appearing for Khan, had told the court that in her affidavit for April 2004 Lok Sabha polls Irani had said 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 election 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 of April 16, 2014 Lok Sabha elections from Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, Irani said she had completed Bachelor of Commerce Part-I from School of Open Learning, DU.

“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 of her educational qualifications is correct,” the complaint alleged.

“The aforesaid affidavits of Smriti Irani, apart from the ostensibly false and discrepant statements in respect of 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 aforesaid facts and circumstances reveal commission of offences by accused under section 125A of Representation of People Act, 1951, besides any other offences that may attract other penal provisions as an outcome of an additional investigation,” the plea alleged.

Metropolitan Magistrate Akash Jain had on June 1 reserved the order on the plea after hearing arguments on the aspect of limitation and whether cognisance can be taken or not.

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