The police went to arrest him at his residence and office but he was nowhere to be he found. This came after the Delhi High Court denied him an anticipatory bail in a domestic violence and an attempt to murder case lodged by his estranged wife Lipika Mitra. The police, on Tuesday evening, picked up Somnath’s brother Loknath Bharti and his private secretary for questioning regarding his whereabouts.
On Wednesday morning, the police picked up 2 more of Bharti’s aides for questioning. About 12 people are under the police’s scanner for allegedly “harbouring” Bharti.
“Several police teams are raiding places across NCR like Faridabad and Gurgaon. The AAP worker who sheltered Bharti last time when he was evading arrest has also been called for questioning,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Southwest) Dependra Pathak said.
“10-12 police personnel came looking for him an hour after the bail plea was rejected by the High Court. They also snatched away our mobile phones and went through every nook and corner of the office,” an aide of Bharti alleged. He also revealed that Bharti was planning to approach the Supreme Court after the High Court denied him anticipatory bail.
Bharti, a former Law Minister in Delhi was looking to exhaust all legal options, said the aide.
“(Narendra) Modi’s police should know that he (Bharti) has still got the rights to go and appeal in the Supreme Court,” AAP leader Ashutosh said.
Meanwhile, AAP convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted on Wednesday morning calling his absconding MLA an embarrassment to the party.
“Somnath should surrender. Why is he running away? Why is he so scared of going to jail? Now he is becoming an embarrassment for the party and his family…He should cooperate with police,” tweeted Kejriwal.
On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court rejected Bharti’s plea for an anticipatory bail observing that the allegations against him by his wife were backed by “documentary proof”. Justice Suresh Kait, while hearing the case, called the allegations “very serious”. He also observed that Lipika, the wife, had been tolerating Bharti’s “cruelty” and “brutal assault”.
“Bharti is elected as Member of Legislative Assembly of Delhi. He should have shown more generosity and responsibility towards his wife and children. Earlier, he had financial difficulties, therefore, every time, he compromised with his wife. But after being elected as MLA, he failed to win the sentiments and trust of his wife,” the judge observed.
But the court had also pulled up the MLA for going to the police station late at night.
“After granting protection by this court vide order dated September 15, 2015, Bharti reached the police station at 2 am and compelled the police officers to record his presence. The said conduct of the petitioner cannot be appreciated in any manner. Thus, he has misused the protection granted by this court,” the judge said.
Lipika had filed a complaint of domestic violence with Delhi Commission for Women on June 10 alleging that her husband had been abusing her since their marriage in 2010. She had also made a police complaint in the matter.
Post her complaint, the Delhi Police registered an FIR against Bharti under several sections of the IPC. The sections slapped were 307 (attempt to murder), 498A (cruelty towards wife), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon), 406 (criminal breach of trust), 313 read with 511 (attempt to cause miscarriage without woman’s consent), 420 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation).