New Delhi | Jailed former Delhi Law Minister Jitender Singh Tomar today failed to get bail in an alleged forged degree case from a court which remanded him to 14 days judicial custody and left him red faced, asking how long will the people be taken for a ride. As a general citizen, till when will you fool us? You can’t forge a document or affidavit, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Tarun Yogesh said as he remanded Tomar to judicial custody till July 6.
Further, the judge said till when will the people be taken for a ride? We exercise our vote to elect our representative but what do we get? The Supreme Court has done a right thing by making a provision of NOTA (Non of the Above) option. As a simple voter, I get immense satisfaction by pressing this button on the EVM, he added.
While dismissing his bail plea, the court observed that being a public representative and an MLA, allegations against Tomar were grave in nature. Considering the stage of investigation, use of fake law degree and document for getting enrolled as an advocate with Bar Council of Delhi, coupled with the fact that offence under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) IPC is involved in the case and co-accused/accomplice who might have facilitated the commission of crime are yet to be apprehended, I am not inclined to admit the accused Jitender Singh Tomar to bail, the ACMM said.
Considering the gravity of the allegations against him as a public representative and being an elected MLA, use of alleged fake documents for getting enrolled as an advocate, the bail application is dismissed, the court said. During the three-hour long hearing, Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Kumar Shrivastava said if Tomar was enlarged on bail, he may tamper with evidence and influence witnesses.
Opposing Tomar’s bail plea, he alleged that the accused had forged an RTI reply of Avadh University which shows that being an MLA, he was an influential person. Claiming that Tomar was in regular touch with university and college officials when the issue of fake degree had surfaced, Shrivastava said at this stage, we cannot say that the accused has forged documents but he has been the ultimate beneficiary of the entire thing.
He also opposed the AAP leader’s bail plea, sought on the ground that he has to attend the Delhi Assembly Session. Citing a Supreme Court judgement, the prosecutor said parliamentary privileges granted to public representatives were to facilitate their work and not for creating a class separate from other citizens.
Shrivastava said law does not permit the offender to be treated differently and prayed for rejection of Tomar’s bail plea saying investigation is at initial stage and several other accomplices involved in the conspiracy needed to be apprehended. Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, appearing for Tomar, said the case was entirely based on documentary evidence.
As the police has sought judicial custody which means the accused was not required for further investigation, he should be enlarged on bail. Gupta further said the allegation that his client would tamper with evidence was totally ill-founded and baseless. I (Tomar) am no more an influential person. I was influential person when I was arrested being the Delhi Law Minister. But still nothing worked. So it means I can’t tamper with evidence, Gupta said.
He further said Tomar’s release would not hamper the probe but assist the police in apprehending other accused. Meanwhile, court also allowed the police to take Tomar’s specimen signature required in connection with the case. Yesterday, the court had sent Tomar to one day in judicial custody after the police said he was not required for custodial interrogation.
A Metropolitan Magistrate, before whom Tomar was yesterday produced, had recused himself from becoming witness to the Delhi Police’s plea for taking specimen signature necessary for the case citing personal reasons. The magistrate had also recused himself from hearing the bail plea of Tomar and transferred it to the CMM’s court. The court had also allowed Tomar’s plea that he be lodged in separate ward in jail and taken in a separate van to ferry him from court and jail due to security reasons.
Earlier, on June 19, the court had extended Tomar’s custody by two days after police said he had to be confronted with his college officials and one other person Madan Pratap Chouhan interrogated in the matter. Tomar, an MLA from Trinagar, was arrested on June 9 following a probe into the complaint by BCD that he had obtained a fake law degree from the Bihar college.
An FIR was registered against Tomar on June 8 at Hauz Khas police station and he was booked for alleged offences of cheating, forgery, using forged documents as genuine, forgery with intent to cheat and criminal conspiracy. During his 12-day police custody period, the legislator was taken to various places in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to ascertain facts regarding his alleged fake B.Sc and LLB degrees.
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