New Delhi: Somnath Bharti, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)'s most controversial lawmaker, who was arrested today over charges of assault and inciting a crowd to damage property, has got bail. He is the second AAP leader to be arrested in two days.
- AAP leader accused of assault, inciting crowd to damage property
- Comes day after arrest of another AAP legislator Amanatullah Khan
- AAP accuses centre of targeting its leaders, 13 of whom have been jailed
Another lawmaker, Amanatullah Khan, was arrested yesterday on a sexual assault complaint by his relative. He was released on bail hours after Mr Bharti's arrest for allegedly misbehaving with security guards at Delhi's AIIMS hospital earlier this month.
The 42-year-old legislator tweeted about his own arrest.
The police had asked for 14 days of judicial custody, but the judge said Mr Bharti being a lawmaker, the chances of his fleeing were remote.
I m in hauzkhas police station under arrest in gautam nagar kalah.— Adv. Somnath Bharti (@attorneybharti) September 22, 2016
Mr Bharti is also out on bail in a case of domestic violence filed by his wife last year.
AIIMS or the All India Institute of Medical Sciences had filed a complaint alleging that he and 27 of his supporters of misbehaved with guards on September 6.
"Bharti provoked the mob to damage the fence of the hospital... to give access to unauthorised persons inside AIIMS property and also misbehaved with security personnel," said the complaint.
In court, the police played a video that showed Mr Bharti was present at the spot when part of the AIIMS wall was being broken. The court said prima facie it did not look like a case of obstructing public servant, since guards employed by AIIMS were private people, not government servants.
Mr Bharti has called the charges false and has said that AIIMS had denied "legitimate access" to people. "The wall will have to go in larger interest of residents, come what may," the legislator tweeted later.
Mr Bharti was law minister in AAP's previous 49-day government and left the party facing ridicule and criticism with his vigilantism; he was accused of leading a midnight raid in which Nigerian women were attacked by a mob on the suspicion that they were linked to a sex and drugs racket.
Last year, he was arrested after his wife accused him of abuse.
Mr Bharti is the 13th AAP leader to be arrested since the party came to power last year, and this is the 15th arrest.
The other AAP leader in jail is former minister Sandeep Kumar, who has been accused of rape by a woman who featured in a sex tape with him.
Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, the Chief Minister, has accused the central government of gunning for his lawmakers.