AAP leader Somnath Bharti chargesheeted in midnight raid case
New Delhi: Delhi Police on Wednesday told a court here that it has chargesheeted former city law minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Somnath Bharti for molestation and other offences in a case pertaining to his purported midnight raid on a house where some African women were residing.
After going through the charge sheet briefly the Metropolitan Magistrate asked the IO to appear before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) court on Wednesday at 2 pm for transfer of the case to appropriate court.
“Investigating officer of the case is directed to appear before the CMM court on Wednesday at 2pm, so that case be transferred to appropriate court,” the magistrate said.
Chandel said that charge sheet has been filed against 18 identified accused including Bharti under 16 sections of the Indian Penal Code. He said that among the prominent charges include those under sections 354 (molestation), 147/149(rioting), 341 (wrongful restraint), 506 (criminal intimidation), 509 (outraging modesty of a woman), 153A (promoting enmity between two groups), 323 (assault) and 427 (criminal trespass) of the IPC.
The IO said there are around 40 prosecution witnesses in the case including nine Ugandan women. During the last hearing on September 10, the court had directed the Delhi Police to file the final status report by 1 October “without fail”.
The court had on 26 May issued a notice to the IO to remain present “in person” with the final status report. The court had on 29 January asked police to file status report while refusing to order lodging of a separate First Information Report (FIR) on a plea by an African woman seeking registration of a case against unnamed persons.
However, it had asked Delhi Police that the Ugandan woman be made co-complainant in the first FIR lodged on 19 January as she was also “the victim” of the same incident.
The FIR was lodged on the court’s direction after a Ugandan woman had approached it on 18 January seeking to file a criminal case against unnamed persons.
Around five foreign women had recorded their statements before a magistrate in which they alleged that Bharti, the MLA from Malviya Nagar in south Delhi, had barged into their house along with his supporters on the intervening night of 15-16 January, the court sources had said.
In the earlier application filed before the court, the foreign national had alleged she and the other women were subjected to a cavity search during their medical examination at AIIMS and the then minister and his people had asked them in public to give urine samples.
Television footage aired on news channels had shown Bharti asking police officers to conduct the raid as he had received complaints of drugs and prostitution racket in that area.
Later, another African woman had approached the court seeking registration of a separate FIR alleging she was also molested by the group. After the court had sought police response on this complaint, the Deputy Commissioner of Police had refused to register a separate case saying she had been made a witness in the first FIR relating to the same incident.