New Delhi: In 11 days from now, a forgery case will come up for hearing against Professor RS Katheria, who was sworn in as the new junior minister for education in the Narendra Modi cabinet on Sunday. He is charged with forging two marksheets to land a teaching job at the Agra University.
In what is allegedly his marksheet from his Bachelor of Arts second year, Mr Katheria purportedly got 43 marks in Hindi Literature and 42 in English Language. The allegedly forged marksheet shows 53 marks in Hindi Literature and 52 in English language.
Mr Katheria is also accused of forging a Master of Arts second year marksheet; in the subject Principles of Literary Writing, he purportedly got a 38, but the allegedly forged marksheet says he got 72.
The minister told NDTV that this case, filed by a rival Bahujan Samaj Party candidate who lost to him in the 2009 national elections, is a result of political vendetta. He also claims that he has been given a clean chit by an inquiry conducted by the Uttar Pradesh government under Mayawati.
Professor Katheria has been charged with cheating and dishonesty under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code in the case. If he is convicted, he could get a prison term of up to seven years. Also, convicted politicians are disqualified from office and are barred from contesting elections for several years.
This is only one of the 21 cases that Professor Katheria, a second-term BJP lawmaker from Agra in Uttar Pradesh, has listed in his election affidavit. He was a key target of the Congress when it attacked the Modi government over the induction of several ministers this week.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley retorted that the Samajwadi Party government in UP has slapped criminal cases against all BJP workers in the state. "These are cases arising out of political agitations. Not cases out of some crime or moral turpitude," the senior minister said.
Today, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, tweeted, "First Minster HRD and now MOS HRD has given Fraud Mark Sheet ! On top of it RSS wants to change the Text Books and Indian History !"
In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court said it trusts the Prime Minister not to include a politician on his team who has faced serious criminal charges.
This is the second row over a marksheet against a minister in the education ministry. Education Minister Smriti Irani had earlier faced a controversy over her educational qualifications as well because two separate affidavits filed by her had discrepancies in them.