Facing imminent arrest for allegedly trying to kill his wife and assaulting her for dowry, and with the police in hot pursuit and his party virtually disowning him, AAP’s Malviya Nagar MLA Somnath Bharti on Wednesday moved Supreme Court seeking protection from arrest.
“Somnath shud surrender. Why is he running away? Why is he so scared of gng to jail? Now he is becoming embarasment for party n his family. He shud cooperate wid police (sic),” tweeted Delhi chief minister and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal.
It marked a drastic change in AAP’s stand on the former law minister, who had the party firmly behind him during previous controversies such as the Khirki Extension midnight raid of 2014.
The about turn came a day after the Delhi high court rejected Bharti’s anticipatory bail plea and reprimanded him for his conduct, calling it violent and outrageous. It held the charges leveled against him by his wife Lipika Mitra as “very serious”, taking note of medical papers submitted by the Delhi Police that she was bitten six times by his pet dog when she was seven months pregnant.
“The high court used some strong language against Bharti and this diminished the party’s image. Bharti’s behaviour in the past few days has not gone down well with the party leadership and everyone felt it was time to reprimand him for behaving in a juvenile manner,” said an AAP leader.
Challenging the high court order, Bharti asked the top court to prevent police action in cases of matrimonial dispute. According to his appeal, differences between a husband and wife should be resolved through reconciliation or there should be peaceful separation.
The police, on their part, continued to carry out raids in Delhi and the NCR in search of the absconding MLA. It also questioned his brother Loknath Bharti and his private secretary, among others, after picking them up on Tuesday night.
The police want Bharti’s custodial interrogation to recover a kitchen knife he allegedly used to slit Mitra’s left wrist in 2014.
With inputs from Agencies