Delhi Law Minister Jitender Singh Tomar of the Aam Aadmi Party, arrested this morning by the Delhi Police, has been taken to a Saket court after being held at a police station for several hours. In court, the police has asked for five-day custody of Mr Tomar.
A case of cheating, forgery and conspiracy has been filed against Mr Tomar, who has been accused of faking degrees.
The AAP government has alleged "political vendetta" by the BJP-led Centre, with whose representative in Delhi, the Lieutenant Governor, it is engaged in a bitter turf battle. The Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goes said he had not been informed of the arrest as is mandatory.
About 30 or 40 policemen took Mr Tomar away this morning when he was addressing people in his West Delhi constituency. AAP has alleged that they took him away on the pretext of getting some documents and then drove him to the Hauz Khas police station. They later shifted him to the Vasant Vihar police station, both in south Delhi.
Outside the police stations were barricades and other signs of security preps. Police chief BS Bassi thus raised eyebrows when he said after the arrest, "I have no information yet with me. I was in a meeting."
He later said Mr Tomar "has been arrested within the parameters of law." Sources in the Delhi Police say Mr Tomar has been arrested following investigations into a complaint filed by the Delhi bar council alleging that the minister's university and law degrees are fake.
The arrest came as a complete surprise to the AAP government, which went into a huddle in an emergency meeting called by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
"There is an emergency-like situation in Delhi," said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, and asked how Mr Tomar could be arrested when the matter is being heard in court.
He also questioned the manner in which the minister was arrested. "Is he the mafia, was he running away?" Mr Sisodia asked.
AAP has said Mr Tomar was arrested without prior notice. It has also alleged that the order to arrest Mr Tomar was signed by Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said his ministry had nothing to do with the arrest.
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