Probe indicts Bharti in raid, clears cops
A judicial probe has indicted former Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti for his role in last month’s midnight raid of a home, housing Ugandan women, in south Delhi’s Khirki Extension. The probe absolved Malviya Nagar police officers, who were with Bharti during the raid, of inaction as alleged by Bharti .
The report is a setback for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Arvind Kejriwal, who had strongly defended Bharti. The police personnel, who had been suspended, are expected to join duty soon.
Delhi government sources said the Commission of Inquiry, under retired additional district and session judge BL Garg, has found Bharti guilty of obstructing a public servant from discharging his duties.
Bharti, however, said he was not aware of the panel’s report. “I am not aware of what is really in the report as it has not been made public but whatever I have read and seen is disheartening and damaging,” Bharti told HT.
The 70-page report was submitted to lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung on Wednesday who has sought the view of the law and home department.
The L-G had set up the panel to probe two separate incidents involving two AAP ministers.
On January 16 — the same night Bharti carried out the raid in Khirki Extension — former women and child development minister Rakhi Birla had tried to force the police to arrest suspects involved in an alleged dowry harassment case in west Delhi’s Sagarpur.
The panel’s observation in Birla’s case is not yet known.
Bharti had gone to Khirki Extension with a group of party volunteers and local residents where he claimed that a drug and prostitution ring was being run by some Ugandan women.
Bharti had initially asked the police to raid the house. When the police refused saying they did not have warrant to do so, he led the mob on the raid.
Delhi Police had registered a case in the matter on January 19 against unknown persons.
A Ugandan woman had later filed an FIR in the case and identified Bharti.
The BJP and the Congress had demanded immediate removal of Bharti from office, but the ruling Aam Aadmi Party supported him and said it would wait for the report of the judicial probe before taking any action.