Former law minister of Delhi Somnath Bharti’s life may have gone to the dogs over his marital troubles but it’s his dog that the police seek now. On Monday, as a Delhi court issued a non-bailable warrant for the AAP MLA in a domestic violence case, the Delhi Police asked for custody of Bharti’s pet dog that allegedly attacked his wife Lipika Mitra on his instructions.
Additional sessions judge Sanjay Garg, who dismissed Bharti’s anticipatory bail plea on Monday, was told by investigators they wanted the custody of the Labrador Retriever named Don, who Mitra has alleged attacked her on Bharti’s instructions while she was pregnant in March 2013. Mitra has also accused the Malviya Nagar MLA of trying to kill her on two occasions.
Bharti’s lawyer Vijay Agarwal countered that he could not understand how the police planned to interrogate the dog or record its statement. Officers refused to comment on reasons for seeking the canine’s custody, saying the investigation was on-going. Sources close to Bharti said Don was still with his family.
The non-bailable warrant was issued against the 41-year-old by a metropolitan magistrate, hours after the sessions court dismissed his application for anticipatory bail.
If arrested, Bharti will be the fourth AAP leader to go behind bars in the last two months after Kondli legislator Surender Singh, Tri Nagar MLA and former law minister Jitender Singh Tomar and Kondli legislator Manoj Kumar.
It would not, however, be Bharti’s first brush with the law. He is also fighting molestation charges for alleged action against African women during a midnight raid at Khirki Extension in January last year.
During the hearing, the judge also asked Mitra whether she was open to mediation. She, however, said it would not be possible as she feared Bharti was a serial abuser. The couple were wed in 2010.
On September 10, Mitra registered a criminal complaint against Bharti under several sections of the Indian Penal code, including domestic violence and attempt to murder, at Dwarka North police station. An earlier complaint registered in October 2011 had been not pursued by her on an assurance given by the politician before the Crime Against Women cell.