People are willing to depose against former Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti but they aren’t coming forward out of fear, police told a court on Tuesday while opposing the bail plea of the MLA whose wife has accused him of domestic violence and attempt to murder.
Additional sessions judge Anil Kumar reserved his order till 2pm on Wednesday on the bail plea filed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader who is lodged in the city’s Tihar Jail.
“The investigation is at a preliminary stage. He’s (Bharti) is not cooperating, we’ve put on record that he’s tampering with witnesses— people aren’t coming forward because of him even though they want to,” the prosecution told the court during the hearing of Bharti’s plea for bail filed through his lawyer Vijay Agarwal. “This is because of his clout. In case he’s out he will ruin their lives. He’s not sparing his wife. At this stage, granting bail will be fatal to the probe.”
Bharti’s estranged wife, Lipika Mitra, told the Supreme Court last week that she was not interested in any mediation or reconciliation with him after which a bench headed by Chief Justice of India HL Dattu asked the lawmaker to approach the trial court with a fresh plea seeking regular bail.
Agarwal said in court on Tuesday that he was “pained, shocked and anguished at the contempt of the SC order that’s being done by these cops.” He showed the court a police status report, in which the last line read, “It is stated that during remand, the attitude of the accused was hostile and not cooperative.”
“Isn’t it my right as an accused to remain silent?” Agarwal asked the court
He also read out transcripts of conversation between Bharti and Mitra. “It’s a case of vengeance— she wants to destroy me,” the lawyer said afterwards on behalf of his client.
Mitra had approached the Delhi Commission for Women four months ago alleging that her husband had been abusing her since their marriage in 2010. She had also filed a police complaint.
Agarwal also presented a veterinarian’s report on Bharti’s labrador that purportedly said the animal was good-natured and a family dog, so it would not bite anyone, contradicting Mitra’s allegation that the pet attacked her at the accused’s behest.
The lawyer said the court could impose any condition on his client that it felt comfortable with. “Won’t even travel out of Malviya Nagar (Bharti’s assembly), if the court says.”