The crime branch of Delhi Police on Sunday arrested AAP MLA Sharad Chauhan, his personal assistant, a sub inspector and five others in connection with the suicide of an AAP volunteer on July 18.
Chauhan is the 12th AAP MLA to be arrested by the police.
The woman was allegedly molested by AAP worker Ramesh Bhardwaj in December last year. When she filed a complaint against him on June 2, Bhardwaj and his associates started torturing her to withdraw the complaint. The woman had reportedly approached the police after trying to seek help from senior members of the party.
Police said that the AAP workers even influenced sub-inspector Mukhtiar Singh — the investigating officer of the case against Bhardwaj — to not include proper evidence and make the case weak. Singh also allegedly gave bail to Bhardwaj.
The accused arrested on Friday include AAP’s Narela MLA Sharad Chauhan, his assistant Amit Bhardwaj, sub-inspector Mukhtiar Singh, AAP worker Ramesh Bharadwaj, a local criminal Virender Kala and two of MLA Chauhan’s close aides Mohan Verma and Sanjay. The police have also arrested a schoolteacher, identified as Rajnikant, for helping Bhardwaj. The arrested accused have been charged with criminal conspiracy, concealing information, destruction of evidence and abetment to suicide.
Police said that MLA Chauhan, in connivance with Bhardwaj and others, also sent masked men to the woman’s residence to threaten her to withdraw the case. “For six months, the woman kept pursuing her case within the party. She even went to the party’s Delhi convener, Dilip Pandey, who also asked her to withdraw the case. She stated that she also went to the CM’s residence, but was asked to come through a proper channel. She was pressured to commit suicide by these men,” joint commissioner of police, crime, Ravinder Yadav said. He added that the woman was being harassed on a daily basis. Men used to go to her parlour and smash windows. Some entered her home to threaten her daughter.”
Police said that one of MLA’s associate, Mohan Verma, also allegedly recorded a fake conversation with Ramesh Bhardwaj. In the recording, Verma was heard demanding `15 lakh on behalf of the woman to withdraw the case. The men later allegedly tried to pass off the case as that of extortion. “Verma conspired with the MLA and Bhardwaj to frame the woman in a case of extortion. After the recording of the fake conversation was leaked, it was circulated in Whatsapp groups to tarnish the woman’s image and attack her character,” Yadav said.
After this, the woman reportedly poisoned herself. Before committing suicide, she recorded a message on her phone naming the men responsible for her death.