Goa governor plays down minister’s fake degree row

Panaji, June 23 (IANS) Goa governor Mridula Sinha on Tuesday tried to play down a controversy over Goa Public Works Department Minister Ramakrishna Dhavalikar having an alleged fake degree like Delhi former law minister Jitender Singh Tomar.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Swachch Bharat event, Sinha, when asked for reaction to allegations about Dhavalikar possessing a fake degree, said: “There are many ills in the world. When rice is to be boiled, women pick and clean the stones in it. In the same manner, it will be cleaned. It is a very big society”.

Earlier, the governor refused to comment on the fake degree controversy, claiming she does “not know any details”.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Goa on Monday accused Dhavalikar of falsely claiming that he has a graduation degree, and of lying about his educational qualification in a sworn affidavit filed before the poll authorities.

Dhavalikar, who belongs to the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, a member of the ruling alliance in the state, has dismissed the allegations, claiming he is indeed a graduate.

While Dhavalikar last week released a copy of a document which said he had passed his B.Sc. in 1978 from a college in South Goa, the AAP in a counter-statement on Tuesday released official documents which did not contain the minister’s name in the list of students who passed from the same institute over 1978-79-80.

The documents released by the AAP showed that Dhavalikar allegedly failed in 1979 regular exam and failed in yet another attempt to clear the graduation exam in October the same year.

Dinesh Waghela, a member of the AAP national executive and chairman of the party’s disciplinary cell, accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of “double standards” while dealing with Dhavalikar and Jitender Singh Tomar, former Delhi law minister who has been formally arrested by Delhi Police.

“It is a simple thing. Suspend and arrest the minister (Dhavalikar) and start the investigation. What is the problem? You cannot have double standards. You should have one standard,” the AAP leader said.

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