Three AAP MLAs booked for ‘assaulting’ woman on assembly premises
A 35-year-old party worker from Rajouri Garden said she had gone to witness assembly proceedings at the Delhi Vidhan Sabha on June 28 when AAP MLAs Jarnail Singh, Amanatullah Khan and Somnath Bharti allegedly confined her in a room and assaulted her.delhi Updated: Jul 07, 2017 10:34 IST
Delhi Police have booked three Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislators for molestation, sexual harassment, physical assault, illegal confinement and outraging a woman’s modesty on the basis of a complaint filed by a female party volunteer late last month.
The 35-year-old party worker from Rajouri Garden said she had gone to witness assembly proceedings at the Delhi Vidhan Sabha on June 28 when AAP MLAs Jarnail Singh, Amanatullah Khan and Somnath Bharti allegedly confined her in a room and assaulted her. She lodged a complaint the next day.
This is not the first time the woman has taken on senior AAP office-bearers. On April 2, the complainant reportedly slapped party leader Sanjay Singh after claiming that she was not being allowed to raise the issue of alleged corruption in the distribution of party tickets. Sources said she wanted AAP to prop her in the upcoming municipal polls.
The woman’s complaint stated that though she went to witness the Delhi assembly proceedings that day, she had to stand outside the building because her audience entry pass could not be processed. “A crowd suddenly rushed out of the assembly building. Among them was Tilak Nagar AAP MLA Jarnail Singh, and upon seeing me, he started shouting that I was the same person who had filed a case against Sanjay Singh. He even told his supporters to beat me up,” it said.
Following this, Jarnail Singh and Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan allegedly dragged the complainant inside the assembly’s main building by force. “I was locked in a room, where I witnessed two other people being brutally beaten up too,” the complaint stated. “The two MLAs molested and sexually harassed me. While Khan pinned me to the floor, Jarnail Singh punched and kicked me in the abdomen.”
Malviya Nagar MLA Somnath Bharti joined them soon afterwards, the complaint stated. “Bharti hurled abuses at me. He told Jarnail Singh and Khan to continue thrashing me because the incident was taking place on the assembly premises, and – therefore – no action can be taken against them.”
The assault allegedly continued for nearly half an hour, until the woman was rescued by police personnel and doctors. The complainant was then taken to a government hospital for a medical check-up.
Police registered the FIR at the Civil Lines station on July 5, after procuring the prosecution branch’s approval. “Such a sanction was sought because the alleged incident had taken place inside the Delhi assembly complex. We wanted a clarification on the ‘privileges’ extended to legislators in this regard, and whether police had jurisdiction over the crime,” said a police officer.
The public prosecutor’s response stated that while Article 194 of the Constitution grants certain privileges to assembly members, it cannot be invoked in a case of this nature. “Police have the power to investigate as per the provisions of Section 156 CrPC r/w 154 CrPC, and a clear dictum (was) laid down in this regard by the honourable Supreme Court’s constitutional bench in the case of Lalita Kumar v/s state of UP,” it clarified.
The prosecution branch’s response is mentioned in the FIR, a copy of which is in HT’s possession. Police will soon issue notices to the three MLAs, a senior investigating officer said.