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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Bharti doesn't appear before women's panel, goes kite flying

PTI  New Delhi, January 25, 2014
First Published: 01:15 IST(25/1/2014) | Last Updated: 01:26 IST(25/1/2014)

High drama prevailed at the Delhi Commission for Women on Friday as controversial law minister Somnath Bharti failed to appear before it in the case relating to the midnight raid against an alleged drug and prostitution ring. He attended a kite flying festival instead.

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Bharti's lawyers and the commission chief Barkha Singh, a former Congress MLA, had a public confrontation after she refused to allow them to present the minister's response.

In a statement, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said it "strongly disapproved of the politicisation of the office of Delhi Commission for Women by its chairperson".

Claiming that a lawyer had misbehaved with her, Singh said she has written to the Lt Governor recommending filing of an FIR against Bharti for allegedly misbehaving with a number of African women.

The DCW had summoned Bharti following allegations that the Delhi minister led a group of AAP workers who misbehaved with a number of African women on the pretext of a raid on an alleged drug and prostitution ring in South Delhi last week.

The law minister was asked to depose before the commission this afternoon to explain the charges against him but he sent his lawyers, who said he was absent due to "some urgencies".

“There is no provision by which we can allow representatives or lawyers. Bharti's lawyer misbehaved with us," Singh said. The commission had also called two Ugandan women involved in the case.

One of Bharti's lawyers, Rishikesh Kumar, said Singh did not allow them to put across his point on the issue. “We were told lawyers cannot represent Bharti,” Kumar said.

The AAP had on Thursday decided to back Bharti and to await the findings of a judicial inquiry before any action can be taken against him.


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