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HindustanTimes Mon,28 Jul 2014

Midnight raid row: AAP lets Bharti off hook, for now

Agencies  New Delhi, January 23, 2014
First Published: 15:42 IST(23/1/2014) | Last Updated: 08:38 IST(24/1/2014)

The Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday ruled out any immediate action against Somnath Bharti even as pressure mounted on chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for removal of the controversial law minister for allegedly leading a group of assaulters in a mid-night raid in south Delhi last week.

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“There is no evidence that Bharti misbehaved or was racist. There is no need for him to step down. A judicial probe is in progress. We will take action against him if the inquiry shows there was wrongdoing on his part. Bharti’s comments on other political parties were distasteful and we have asked him to be careful in the future,” AAP leader Yogendra Yadav said.

A Delhi court on Thursday sought a reply from the Delhi Police on a fresh plea seeking that a complaint be lodged against “unknown accused” for creating a ruckus during the raid led by Bharti.

Read: AAP’s most educated minister is now its most controversial face

Earlier, the police were instructed by the court to file a first information report (FIR) in the matter after a complaint was made on January 19 by an African woman about the raid, conducted between 1am and 3am on January 16.

Metropolitan magistrate Chetna Singh, on a fresh plea in the matter filed by another African woman, on Thursday directed the deputy commissioner of police of south Delhi to file a report by January 25.

Read: 4 Ugandans file complaints, cops say action as per rules

“An FIR has been registered against unknown accused in the Malviya Nagar police station under various charges dealing with wrongful confinement, criminal intimidation and acts intended to insult the modesty of a woman,” a police officer said, speaking of action taken since the first complaint was made.

Police had said on Sunday that the magistrate has ordered the registration of a case against a few unknown people, who were part of the raid team led by Bharti.

Bharti is not named in the complaint on which the court was issuing instructions on Saturday and Thursday.

Read: Shinde calls Kejriwal a 'mad chief minister'

Watch video: Abhay Deol speaks on AAP

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal leaves after meeting Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung in New Delhi on Thursday.(PTI Photo)

Advocate Rakesh Sherawat, appearing for the complainant, told the court on Thursday that his client had come to know through the media that the assailants were from the AAP, led by their local MLA (Somnath Bharti).

Read: Bharti becomes hero in Khirki, but scared Africans leave area

The minister had gone to a house in Khirki Extension, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Malviya Nagar police station, last week after receiving complaints about an alleged prostitution and drug racket in the area.

Early on Sunday, Bharti said he had no information about the orders of the court. “I have no idea of any case being registered. If anyone has filed such a case, I will go and present my stand,” he told reporters.

Read: Act against Somnath Bharti: AAP to Delhi CM Kejriwal

The fresh complaint is filed by a woman from Uganda who was in India for medical treatment, believing that the country offered high quality medical facilities.

The woman said more than 10 men threatened her, carrying wooden sticks, and told her that if the door was not opened to them, she would be shot. She said the mob referred to her as a bad person and made many objectionable comments.

Read: Delhi Commission for Women summons Somnath Bharti

The complainant said that she later recognised on TV some of the people in the mob, who trespassed, assaulted, misbehaved, threatened and molested her.

The woman requested the court to take necessary action against the accused people, and said she could identify some of the men who were part of the mob.

Read: Kejriwal meets LG Jung amid growing demand to sack Bharti

The AAP also faced heat from the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday as they demanded action against Bharti. The Congress, which gives outside support to the AAP government, on Thursday asked Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to direct the police to take action against Bharti.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders met Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi and demanded the arrest Bharti for his alleged action against Ugandan women.

Read: Centre ignored SC directions to initiate police reforms

Leaders of the Delhi unit of the party, including Vijay Goel and Vijender Gupta, along with party supporters meet the commissioner at the police headquarters and demanded action.


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