Police raided the home and office of AAP legislator Somnath Bharti on Tuesday to arrest him but said he could not be found after the Delhi High Court refused to grant him anticipatory bail in connection with accusations of domestic violence by his wife.
"A team of Delhi Police officers raided his house in Malviya Nagar and his office but he was found absconding from both places," joint commissioner of police Deependra Pathak said.
"We need to arrest Bharti to interrogate him in a case of domestic violence and attempt to murder filed by his wife," he said.
Earlier, Justice Suresh Kait of the Delhi high court declined to grant the former Delhi law minister anticipatory bail. "This petition is dismissed," he said while ruling on Bharti's plea.
After the judge gave his order, Bharti's counsel Vijay Aggarwal told the media he could be arrested "but there are other legal remedies and many doors are still open".
The judge also pulled up Bharti for going to the police station late at night, saying, "If he loves going to the police station, then I will send him from here....Once you (Bharti) get relief, you act like a lion and go here and there." Justice Kaith said Bharti was not only "violent and outrageous at home but also before the public at large".
On September 17, the high court had reserved its verdict on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader's petition while protecting him from arrest till the pronouncement of its order.
Police have sought custodial interrogation of Bharti for conducting a fair investigation into allegations levelled against him by his wife Lipika Mitra. He approached the high court after a lower court issued a non-bailable warrant for him.
The court in its judgment also took into note an e-mail sent by Mitra to Bharti on March 20, 2013, stating that Bharti's dog had bitten her six times when she was seven months pregnant. The court said police have produced the relevant medical papers.
Bharti's wife has been "tolerating cruelty with brutal assault", which was evident from the e-mail sent by her to him, the court held.
Bharti was recently named in a First Information Report (FIR) by police under provisions of the Indian Penal Code, including those related to domestic violence and attempted murder.
Police filed the FIR following the June 10 complaint by Mitra, who alleged Bharti had been abusing her since their marriage in 2010. She said Bharti beat and tortured her and even tried to kill her once.
Mitra further alleged that in March 2013, Bharti had physically abused her, tried to strangle her and ordered his dog to attack her. She said she had sustained multiple injuries.
Bharti has refuted the allegations against him and said Delhi Police were working at the behest of the Prime Minister's Office to tarnish his image.
"It was a matrimonial dispute, but the opposition misused it for their political cause. Instead of solving my family dispute, they tried to exploit my personal life," he said.
(With inputs from agencies)
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