Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Somnath Bharti has been arrested by Delhi police in relation to the attempt to murder and alleged domestic violence case filed by his wife Lipika Mitra. Bharti, the former Law minister in Delhi government was formally arrested in the wee hours on Tuesday few hours after he surrendered at Dwarka police station in Southwest Delhi. The Supreme Court on Monday had sternly ordered Bharti to surrender before the police by the evening.
Facing arrest after his anticipatory bail was rejected by both the lower court and the Delhi High Court, Bharti has been on the run since last week.
“He was arrested around 4 AM on Tuesday,” Dependra Pathak, Joint Commissioner of Police (Southwest) apprised the press adding that the sitting MLA from Malviya Nagar has been arrested under various sections of the IPC including 307 (attempt to murder), 420 (cheating and dishonesty), 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust), 417 (punishment for cheating), 313 (causing miscarriage without woman’s consent), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt), 498a (husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation).
Bharti was produced before the trial court on Tuesday after which he remanded in the police custody for two days.
Earrlier, a drama was witnessed late on Monday night as Bharti surrendered at the police station around 10:10 pm with the press jostling to get the glimpse of the ruling party MLA, till then out in the woods giving police a tough chase.
“There was a warrant and I was availing legal remedies till the Honourable Supreme Court directed me to surrender. In compliance with the direction…I am here to surrender,” Somnath Bharti said before the press as he struggled to get out of his car.
“I was not running away from law. I was only availing the legal remedies guaranteed by the Constitution of India” the sitting MLA added flashing the copy of the Constitution.
Earlier on Monday, Bharti had failed to get relief from the apex court as it out rightly rejected his plea seeking an anticipatory bail.
“We want him to surrender before appropriate jurisdiction of the police by this evening. We don’t intend to pass any further order,” the Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice HL Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy ordered even as they posted the matter to be heard on Thursday.
“Not to say you have lost before two courts (trial court and High Court). You went for anticipatory bail before the trial court, you did not succeed. You went for anticipatory bail before the High Court, you did not succeed. What is your duty as a responsible citizen,” the apex court bench added.
The episode has caused considerable unease in the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which among several promises, had claimed to uphold “clean politics”. Such was the palpitation within the ranks of the ruling party that Delhi CM and party chief Arvind Kejriwal had to ask Bharti to immediately surrender.
“Somnath should surrender. Why is he running away? Why is he so scared of going to jail? Now he is becoming embarrassment for party n his family… He should co-operate with police,” Kejriwal had written on a micro-blogging site last week.
(With inputs from the PTI)