NEW DELHI -- The Delhi Police is looking for Aam Aadmi Party lawmaker Somnath Bharti, who is facing charges of domestic violence and attempt to murder, and Don, his dog, who, he allegedly unleashed on his wife Lipika Mitra when she was pregnant.
Bharti, who was the law minister in AAP's 49 day government, was denied anticipatory bail by a Delhi court on Monday, and a non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against him. While the police say that Bharti has ignored several requests for interrogation, his lawyers moved the Delhi High Court for bail today.
"We are waiting for him to join the investigation," Deependra Pathak, Joint Commissioner of Police, said today.
While maintaining silence over the allegations against him, Bharti's party has urged him to cooperate with the police."This is Somnath ji's personal matter, AAP wont interfere. But we advise him to come forth and take part in investigation," AAP spokesperson Ashutosh told ANI.
Agra: Delhi police team conducts raid at AAP office in search of Somnath Bharti; AAP protest outside office. pic.twitter.com/YmEjCep3rj— ANI (@ANI_news) September 15, 2015
In June, Mitra filed a complaint with the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW), accusing Bharti of domestic violence, harassment, and torture since 2010. "Me and my children are subject to harassment and torture -mental, physical and oral - by my husband Somnath Bharti. There is a persistent threat from my husband and his supporters," she said in her complaint.
Bharti, who was booked for domestic violence on September 9, has refuted the allegations against him as "baseless and inconceivable," and said that his wife had asked him to chose between her and his mother.
On September 10, he tweeted, "This too shall pass."
This too shall pass.— Adv. Somnath Bharti (@attorneybharti) September 10, 2015
The Delhi police is also looking for his dog, a Labrador named Don, who, she said, was ordered to attack her by Bharti, when she was in the seventh month of her pregnancy.
In June, Mitra told journalists, "He (Bharti) unleashed a dog on me and just stood watching me fight the animal until someone knocked at our door. It was only then that he shooed the dog away and dragged me to our bedroom."
"In fact, whenever we used to have a fight, he always called me a prostitute," she said.
Arguing against anticipatory bail for Bharti on Monday, public prosecutor Shailender Babbar said that Don is "crucial to the investigation," The Indian Express reported.
"We have conducted searches at Bharti’s residence and at his office. However, we have not able to find him (Don). We have to recover him. Bharti knows where he is. The dog’s denture marks will prove how the accused incited the dog to attack the victim when she was pregnant,” he said.
“Tomorrow, will you also question the dog," responded Vijay Aggarwal, Bharti's lawyer, the newspaper reported.
Last month, Bharti courted controversy for saying, 'Beautiful women laden with jewelries can travel at midnight fearlessly is the kind of benchmark one can measure security level at Delhi against, if AAP has police control."
Last year, Bharti faced severe criticism for his vigilante-midnight raid against Ugandan and Nigerian women living in Khirki Extension, who locals accused of running a drug and prostitution racket, but the AAP government backed its minister.