Former Delhi law minister and AAP MLA Somnath Bharti, booked in a domestic violence case, was granted protection against arrest by Delhi high court on Thursday. The court also reserved its order on his anticipatory bail plea.
Justice Suresh Kait extended the protection from arrest to the former Delhi law minister, granted on September 15, saying "there is no time left to pronounce the order. So, till then, no coercive steps be taken against Bharti."
The court, which reserved the order on anticipatory bail, declined the police's request to withdraw the protection given to him from arrest, asked what has the police done till Thursday as the FIR was lodged on September 9.
"You (Police) failed to arrest him(Bharti) when he was not given protection from arrest by this court," the judge said.
The court also expressed concern saying it was conscious about the complainant and her children.
"Keeping in mind that the two children are suffering (due to the matrital discord) this matter needs some reconsideration," it said.
Appearing for Bharti, senior advocate Dayan Krishnan argued that the sum and substance of the FIR against the MLA was a matrimonial dispute which has been "blown out of proportion" in view of his "elected position".
Krishnan questioned the need for custodial interrogation asking "what will they do with custodial interrogation? Beat a confession out of him? That would be inadmissible."
"So do they want to arrest him to make headlines or for the case," the lawyers asked, adding that Bharti was willing to sit across the table with his wife and resolve the issues.
Bharti's wife Lipika Mitra, who was present in court, said she was "not interested in any reconciliation" with him as he had mistreated and abused her when they were together.
During arguments, Delhi Police contended that custodial interrogation for Bharti was needed to recover dowry articles, kitchen knife with which he allegedly slit his wife's wrist and electronic evidence, which allegedly had some objectionable data to ensure safety of witnesses.
It was also argued that Bharti did not come to the aid of his wife when she was "mauled by his dog" and alleged that he had tried to strangulate her when she was seven months pregnant, knowing she was diabetic and was suffering from hypertension.
Opposing his contention, Krishnan said the incident of knife was not mentioned in the FIR. "To hype the matter, knife has been introduced," he said.
With regard to the seizure of dowry articles from Bharti, Krishnan contended that his client was ready to deposit the money with the court to show his bonafide.
The prosecutor also contended that Bharti concealed the fact that prior to this FIR, two other FIRs were lodged against him, including one in which he was booked under section 354 (molestation) of IPC which "speaks volumes about the attitude of Bharti towards women".
"This clearly shows that the accused is not only violent and outrageous at home, but is also similarly violent and outrageous before the general public at large," the prosecutor said.