India

India 'fake degree' minister Jitender Singh Tomar denied bail

Jitender Singh Tomar file photo Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Tomar says that claims against him are "baseless"

The High Court in India's capital Delhi has denied bail to a minister in the local government who was arrested amid allegations his law degree was fake.

Law Minister Jitender Singh Tomar, who is from the Aam Admi Party (AAP), had resigned on Tuesday after being accused of forgery and cheating.

Mr Tomar has dismissed the claims as "baseless".

The AAP, which was elected on a pledge to fight corruption, says the arrest is politically-motivated.

The court deferred the bail plea hearing until 16 June when Mr Tomar and his investigating officer can be present. They are currently out of Delhi in the city of Faizabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh, because police want Mr Tomar to substantiate his claims that he studied in a university there.

Mr Tomar held a number of portfolios in the Delhi government including justice, and resigned late on Tuesday night after being arrested.

In his resignation letter, Mr Tomar said he did not want the image of the party or the government to be tarnished, the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency reported.

The AAP won a landslide 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi's assembly in February's election. It was seen as a major blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's nationally governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party.

Mr Tomar had submitted documents showing that he held a law degree when he ran for office.

The Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University in Bihar state has previously said that it has no record of the law minister receiving his degree.

Mr Tomar responded that the university had not denied that he was a student and that "there are so many students they could have forgotten".

His arrest has exposed a power struggle between the Delhi government, led by the AAP, and the BJP.

The federal government controls the Delhi police and AAP leaders have accused it of a political vendetta in arresting Mr Tomar - a charge denied by the BJP.

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