Panaji: The AAP in Goa on Thursday alleged that state Public Works Department Minister Ramakrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar's Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) degree was "fake". His party termed the allegation "baseless", while Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said educational qualification was not a criteria to be a minister.
The Aam Aadmi Party gave the minister time till Friday to respond, failing which it said it would file a police complaint.
Lavoo Mamledar of the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) -- of which Dhavalikar is a member -- termed the allegation "baseless". The MGP, which has three legislators, is a coalition partner in the BJP-led government along with the Goa Vikas Party.
AAP's Dinesh Vaghela, who heads the party's state disciplinary cell, said at a press conference in Panaji that Dhavalikar did not complete his graduation in 1979-80 though he claimed so in his affidavit filed with the state Election Commission.
"The AAP in Goa has reasons to believe that Dhavalikar may not have completed the said course and hence may not possess the degree he has claimed in his sworn affidavit," Vaghela said.
In his affidavit, Dhavalikar said he obtained a B.Sc. degree from South Goa's Parvatibai Chowgule College (then affiliated to the University of Mumbai) in the academic year 1979-80.
The AAP, which was forced to drop Jitender Singh Tomar as law minister from the Delhi cabinet following accusations about a fake degree, said the party has evidence to suggest that Dhavalikar did not complete his graduation.
"We are giving Dhavalikar 24 hours to respond, failing which we will file an FIR with the state police against him for disclosing wrong information on affidavit," Vaghela said.
While Dhavalikar could not be contacted on his mobile phone despite many attempts, party legislator and spokesperson Lavoo Mamledar said: "He (Dhavalikar) completed his graduation along with me. We both studied in the college at the same time."
Mamledar said the allegations were baseless. "I don't know for what reason these allegations are being made. The claims are wrong."
Wilfred Misquita, spokesman of the ruling BJP, said it was up to the Election Commission to take action against legislators in case incorrect affidavits were filed.
Speaking to reporters in Panaji, Chief Minister Parsekar said that to be a minister in the cabinet, educational qualification was not a criteria.
"The people have elected him," Parsekar said, brushing aside the controversy.