The Supreme Court on Monday rejected the bail plea of AAP MLA Somnath Bharti, accused of attempt to murder and dowry harassment by his estranged wife, and asked him to surrender by evening.
The former Delhi law minister has been evading arrest with the Delhi Police saying he was behaving like a “professional criminal”, changing his location and mobile numbers frequently. Multiple raids including at an Agra village —his last known location — yielded no results, police sources said.
On Monday, the court said it would hear the matter next on October 1 only if Bharti surrendered by Monday evening.
“The SC has asked Somnath Bharti to surrender by today (Monday) evening. The court will then consider on Thursday whether reconciliation is possible,” the AAP leader’s counsel Vijay Aggarwal said. “I’ll try to communicate to him… will inform my client as soon as I establish contact,” he added.
A police source said earlier they had traced the hideouts of Bharti in Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. The police also picked up Bharti’s pet dog named Don from his Malviya Nagar residence in south Delhi. Don had allegedly attacked Bharti’s wife Lipika Mitra at the behest of Bharti.
In further trouble for the Malviya Nagar legislator, the Delhi government sanctioned his prosecution for allegedly leading a midnight raid against African women in south Delhi’s Khirki Extension in January 2014 when he was the law minister.
The turnaround by the AAP government, which had so far backed Bharti in the raid case, came a day after chief minister Arvind Kejriwal called him an “embarrassment” to the Aam Aadmi Party for running away and asked him to surrender.
“Delhi high court rejected Somnath Bharti’s anticipatory bail plea on Tuesday morning and since then he has been evading arrest. By frequently changing his location and mobile phones, Bharti is behaving more like a professional criminal,” said Deependra Pathak, joint commissioner of police (southwestern range). He said a separate case will be filed against those found helping him.