Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday described his former law minister Somnath Bharti as an “embarrassment” to the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and said he should surrender in a case of attempt to murder and domestic violence filed by his wife.
The chief minister’s comment was in sharp contrast to some senior AAP leaders’ earlier contention that Delhi Police were showing uncharacteristic haste in trying to arrest Bharti and that he was yet to exhaust all his legal options.
“Somnath shud surrender. Why is he running away? Why is he so scared of gng to jail? Now he is becoming embarasment for party n his family (sic),” Kejriwal said in tweet in the morning.
“He shud cooperate wid police (sic),” the chief minister added in another tweet.
Somnath shud surrender.Why is he running away?Why is he so scared of gng to jail? Now he is becoming embarasment for party n his family(1/2)— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) September 23, 2015
He shud cooperate wid police(2/2)— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) September 23, 2015
Somnath Bharti, a controversial AAP legislator who had a run-in with the law earlier too, has gone into hiding after the Delhi high court on Tuesday rejected his anticipatory bail petition in the case filed by his wife Lipika Mitra.
He had approached the high court after a lower court issued a non-bailable warrant for him. Bharti was 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 a June 10 complaint by Mitra, who alleged that Bharti had been abusing her since their marriage in 2010 and also said he 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.
On Tuesday evening, the Delhi Police picked up his brother Loknath Bharti and private secretary for questioning and said ten other people are also likely to be arrested for allegedly harbouring the former Delhi law minister.
The 10 people include some AAP workers based in Delhi and Agra in Uttar Pradesh.
Six teams of the southwest Delhi Police were constituted under the supervision of RA Sanjeev, DCP (southwest), to raid places Bharti visits across the city.
The teams raided Bharti’s residence in Malviya Nagar and his offices in Dwarka, but he was not found at either of the two places. Raids continued till late in the night and as many as 15 potential places were searched to arrest him. His mobile phone was also found switched off or out of reach, police said.