Somnath Bharti Is Behaving Like A 'Professional Criminal', Says Delhi Police

24/09/2015 6:21 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - DECEMBER 26: AAP leader Somnath Bharti addressing the press conference on various issues, at North Avenue on December 26, 2014 in New Delhi, India. Delhi High Court has set aside NHRC order against AAP leader Somnath Bharti holding him guilty of racial prejudice against 12 African women during his controversial midnight raid. (Photo by Sushil Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- Controversial AAP MLA Somnath Bharti, evading arrest for the third consecutive day in a domestic violence and attempt to murder case lodged by his wife, is behaving like a "professional criminal", Delhi Police said today.

In fresh trouble for Bharti in another case, the Delhi Government sanctioned his prosecution for allegedly leading a midnight raid against a group of African women in South Delhi last year.

Delhi Police, which carried out raids across Delhi and some neighbouring cities in the last three days to arrest him after the High Court rejected his plea for anticipatory bail, said the lawmaker was changing his locations and mobile phones frequently but said he would be nabbed soon.

"Bharti is evading arrest and behaving just like a professional criminal, changing his locations and mobile phones from time to time," Joint Commissioner of Police (Southwest) Dependra Pathak told reporters here.

Pathak said several police teams have been deployed in the operation and they have been sent to various potential hideouts of the former law minister, who has been booked for alleged attempt to murder and domestic violence based on a complaint filed by his wife, Lipika Mitra.

In the past two days, the police have questioned around 12 persons inquiring about Bharti's whereabouts and all of them are under the scanner for allegedly harbouring Bharti which in itself is a criminal offence, he said.

Adding to his woes, the Delhi Government gave its sanction for his prosecution for alleged involvement in a midnight raid targeting a group of African women in Khirki Extension area of South Delhi last year.

The Home Department of Delhi Government notified Lt Governor Najeeb Jung's sanction to prosecute the MLA for his alleged involvement in the raid in Khirki Extension area in January, 2014 when he was the Law Minister in the AAP Government.

Kejriwal had yesterday said that the Malviya Nagar MLA is becoming an "embarrassment" to the party and asked him to surrender immediately.

Interestingly, the AAP government last month had opposed LG's nod to prosecute Bharti in the raid case. Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain had then conveyed to Jung that sanction to prosecute Bharti should not be given.

Pathak, who is overseeing the probe into domestic violence case against Bharti, said, he was last located in a village near Agra, and by the time a police team could reach there, he changed his location.

The former minister has allegedly changed locations around four times in the past 24 hours, said a source in west district of Delhi Police.

However, all his whereabouts in the said period have been around Agra city.

As many as three police teams have been sent there to track Bharti down, the police source said. Bharti is also believed to have changed around three mobile phones in the same period, to evade being tracked.

A senior official said police are likely to register a separate FIR against persons who have allegedly harboured Bharti.

The persons questioned so far about Bharti's whereabouts include his brother Loknath Bharti whose name also figured on the complaint filed by Lipika and Bharti's private secretary, apart from a few other employees in his office and party workers from Malviya Nagar, said the official.

Bharti s private secretary is suspected to be the last person whom the MLA had met before he became untraceable. All the persons questioned so far by us are suspected to have harboured Bharti, the senior official added.

The Supreme Court today agreed to hear on Monday the bail plea of Bharti seeking protection from arrest. He had yesterday moved the apex court seeking protection from arrest.

The High Court on Tuesday had rejected his anticipatory bail plea, saying the allegations against him were backed by "documentary proof".

Earlier this year, a city court had asked the police to get prosecution sanction against Bharti from the competent authority to proceed further in the raid case.

In its charge sheet filed in September last year, police had said that "nine African women were victims of molestation and manhandling by a mob led by Bharti" in Khirki Extension area.

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