Somnath Bharti's Midnight Raid: Court to Consider Chargesheet on December 1

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Somnath Bharti's Midnight Raid: Court to Consider Chargesheet on December 1

Delhi's former Law minister, Somnath Bharti has been accused of leading a mob and manhandling a group of African women last year.


New Delhi:  A court today fixed December 1 for consideration of the supplementary chargesheet filed by Delhi Police against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Somnath Bharti in a case of alleged molestation of African women during his purported midnight-raid last year when he was the law minister.

The court deferred the matter as Metropolitan Magistrate Ankita Lal, before whom the investigating officer (IO) had filed the supplementary final report, was on leave.

The IO had on October 3 submitted the report while informing the court that prosecution sanction against Mr Bharti has been accorded by the competent authority.

On January 16, the court had issued notice to the Deputy Commissioner of Police and given a last chance to IO to get the sanction for prosecution against Mr Bharti expeditiously. The police said it received the sanction on September 24.

In its charge sheet filed on September 27 last year, the police had said that "nine African women were victims of molestation and manhandling by a mob led by Somnath Bharti".

Mr Bharti and 17 others have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 354 (outraging women's modesty), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 147 (rioting).

The police had arrayed 41 people as prosecution witnesses in the case, including nine Ugandan women, who were allegedly beaten up and molested by the mob led by Mr Bharti on the intervening night of January 15-16, 2014.

The police had said, reports of video footage collected from CCTV cameras installed at AIIMS, where the victims were taken for medical check-up, and footage from news channels have been received.

The First Information Report (FIR) was lodged on January 19 last year on court's direction after a Ugandan woman had approached it seeking a direction to police to file a criminal case against unnamed persons.

Later, another African woman approached the court seeking registration of a separate FIR alleging that she was also molested by the group.

The court had then asked the police to file status report while refusing to order lodging of a separate FIR on the plea. However, it had asked the police that the woman be made a co-complainant in the first FIR lodged on January 19 as she was also a victim of the same incident.


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