Aam Aadmi Party legislator Somnath Bharti, who was arrested on Thursday for allegedly assaulting security staff at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences earlier this month, is not new to controversies.
Bharti, a founder member of Delhi’s ruling AAP, though is considered as one of the most “accessible” legislators, has also acquired the dubious reputation of being the ‘enfant terrible’ of the party.
At least three FIRs have been filed against him in less than three years.
Here are some of the major controversies Bharti was involved in:
Tampering of evidence
In 2013, the then CBI special judge Poonam A Bamba pulled up Bharti and his client Pawan Kumar - facing prosecution on corruption charges - after the probe agency accused them of influencing a prosecution witness by speaking to him on the phone and discussing the case.
The Malviya Nagar MLA first made headlines during his tenure as the law minister in 2014 when he allegedly led a midnight raid in south Delhi’s Khirki Extension targeting African women that snowballed into a major controversy.
News channels had aired the footage showing Bharti engaged in heated argument with the top cops after leading local crowds to “expose” a “drug and sex cartel”.
Domestic abuse allegations
Bharti’s wife, Lipika Mitra, accused him of dowry harassment, sexual and mental torture and infidelity and filed a complaint with the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) in June 2015. She had also complained to the police.
He was on the run after the matter came to light. Faced with the predicament, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had to tweet and ask Bharti to turn himself in.
The AAP legislator faced a similar domestic abuse complaint in 2011 with his wife moving the Delhi Police cell for crimes against women, but she later withdrew it.
The chief security officer of AIIMS accused Bharti of trying to encroach upon government land and disrupting peace in the hospital on September 9.
In his complaint, the officer said the MLA and at least 300 of his supporters beat up security personnel who had asked them to leave hospital premises. A case was registered under various sections pertaining to rioting, damaging public property and obstructing a public servant from discharging his duty.