"But in her affidavit for this year's Lok Sabha election, the actor-turned-politician mentioned her educational qualification as Bachelor of Commerce, Part I, School of Open Learning (Correspondence), University of Delhi - 1994."
New Delhi, May 31 - HRD Minister Smriti Irani Saturday appealed to Delhi University vice chancellor Dinesh Singh to reinstate the five officials suspended for allegedly leaking documents related to her educational qualifications.
... Kindly look into the fact of reinstating these officials. There are many teachers and students who had approached me with regard to certain challenges the university is facing, and even in my communication with them I had reinforced the autonomy of the Delhi University, Irani told the media.
Hence, not as a minister, but as a citizen I would like to appeal to the vice chancellor to reinstate the officials that I have come to know through newspapers reports have been suspended, Irani added.
The minister also took to Twitter to express her opinion.
Since the Delhi University is an autonomous institution, I have put forth my personal appeal to the VC (vice chancellor) to reinstate the officials, she said in a tweet.
In public life one should be open to scrutiny and criticism. So am I, Irani tweeted.
The Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) also welcomed Irani's stand.
On Friday, five non-teaching staff of the School of Open Learning were suspended for accessing Irani's B.A admit card and allegedly leaking it.
The DU took the action after a Hindi daily published the leaked documents. The daily had written that Irani had been admitted to the School of Open Learning last year, but had not appeared for the examinations.
Irani is at the centre of a controversy over her educational qualifications, which has led to a full-blown war of words between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The Congress has alleged that Irani had misrepresented facts in her election affidavits.
Reacting to the Congress making it a political issue, Irani added that she was prepared for any kind of scrutiny, attack or criticism.
My appeal is that if there is any criticism which is constructive enough for us to function better as a ministry, ... for me to function better as a political activist, I would appeal to one and all that I am more than happy and open to those suggestions and criticisms, Irani said.
She said she was prepared to be attacked everyday by those who seek to show their loyalty to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi after she contested the Lok Sabha polls against him in Amethi.
The Congress leaders have said that Irani, in her affidavit when she was contesting the 2004 Lok Sabha election, mentioned her qualification as Bachelor of Arts (BA) which she passed in 1996 from Delhi University's school of correspondence.
But in her affidavit for this year's Lok Sabha election, the actor-turned-politician mentioned her educational qualification as Bachelor of Commerce, Part I, School of Open Learning (Correspondence), University of Delhi - 1994.
The Congress has protested against an undergraduate being appointed the human resource development minister. The BJP countered it with questions about Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's academic background.