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Business News/ Politics / Policy/  AAP stands by Somnath Bharti, shrugging off criticism
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AAP stands by Somnath Bharti, shrugging off criticism

Congress sought police probe against the law minister in a meeting with Delhi's lieutenant governor Najeeb Jung

Somnath Bharti was involved in a row with the police last week when they refused to raid an alleged drug and prostitution racket following which he allegedly led his supporters in forcing African women to give urine samples. Photo: HT Premium
Somnath Bharti was involved in a row with the police last week when they refused to raid an alleged drug and prostitution racket following which he allegedly led his supporters in forcing African women to give urine samples. Photo: HT

New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday decided to stand by Somnath Bharti even as other political parties demanded action against the controversial law minister in the Delhi government.

The AAP held a meeting of its political affairs committee (PAC) late Thursday evening to discuss the matter, cleared Bharti, and praised the minister.

Bharti allegedly threatened policemen with disciplinary action during a raid last week on what he described as a drug and prostitution den in a south Delhi neighbourhood. The development comes on a day when the Congress party—which offers outside support to the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi—demanded a police probe against the law minister in a meeting with the state’s Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung. Jung has already ordered a judicial probe of the matter.

“Bharti went there (the South Delhi locality) as a representative of people. He should be praised. The result of the judicial enquiry should be awaited," Yogendra Yadav, senior leader of the party and member of the PAC told reporters. The PAC is the highest decision making body of the one-year-old party.

The party earlier this week took to the streets in central Delhi demanding action against the policemen who allegedly refused to cooperate with Bharti during the midnight raid.

“The inquiry has been ordered by the Lieutenant Governor and not by the Delhi government. Bharti cannot influence the probe. At any point of investigation, if he is found to be wrong, we will take appropriate action," Yadav said. Earlier, the Congress party’s Delhi unit urged Jung to intervene in support of demands for a police probe against Bharti.

“If this was a case involving a common man, the Delhi Police would have arrested him. But here is an important minister is involved and so no action is being taken. We met the LG to ask him to intervene in the matter," Arvinder Singh Lovely, president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC), told reporters.

Stepping up pressure on AAP, a delegation of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Delhi unit led by its president Vijay Goel met Delhi Police commissioner B.S. Bassi and demanded immediate action against Bharti. “The BJP will not relent till Somnath Bharti is sacked," Goel said.

Kejriwal also met Jung on Thursday.

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Published: 23 Jan 2014, 02:00 PM IST
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