Delhi Court reserves order on Somnath Bharti’s plea for FIR against cops who investigated molestation case
A court here today reserved for November 3 its order on a plea by former Delhi Law Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Somnath Bharti seeking lodging of an FIR against unknown police personnel who allegedly implicated him in a molestation case. During the arguments on the plea, Bharti and his advocate alleged that the law was “grossly misused” by the police in their probe pertaining to the alleged midnight raid, the case in which he has been chargesheeted along with 17 others for purportedly molesting some African women.
Bharti claimed that he has been framed in the case due to “political vendetta”. He told Metropolitan Magistrate Niti Phutela that the police has implicated him by fabricating the evidence and has suppressed 13 crucial facts from the court. “They (police) have framed me for political vendetta and FIR should be lodged against them under section 211 (false charges with intent to injure), 217 (public servant disobeying direction of law), 218 (public servant framing an incorrect record), 219 (public servant in a judicial proceeding corruptly making an order) and 220 (confinement by a person, contrary to law) of IPC,” Bharti said.
The court, after hearing the arguments, reserved its order on the plea. “Have received the complaint case by the order of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM). Arguments heard in detail on the plea seeking registration of FIR under 156 (3) of CrPC (magistrate empowered to order investigation for cognizable offence) against unknown police officials. Put up for order on November 3,” the magistrate said.
During the proceedings, Bharti’s counsel alleged that police officials had cooked up the statements of witnesses and withheld crucial facts to book his client. “Suppression of facts by them was a deliberate act with a malafide intention. They are qualified investigators and suppression of facts can’t be by omission or negligence,” he said. “Order may be passed for registration of an FIR against the police officials and may be my allegation are false but let the truth come out after the investigation done by an officer court deems fit,” Bharti said.
Bharti’s plea was transferred to the court of Magistrate Phutela by CMM Vivek Kumar Gulia after the AAP leader pleaded for an urgent hearing. “This is an urgent case. My reputation is at stake and if my plea is not heard, it will be of great damage to me,” he told the CMM after he initially refused to give an urgent hearing.
On October 27, Bharti had moved two pleas in the court which was to hear arguments on consideration of charge sheet filed in the case pertaining to molestation of some African women in his purported midnight raid earlier this year in which he and 17 others are named as accused. He had alleged that no prior sanction was taken from the competent authority before lodging an FIR against him or filing of the charge sheet as he was an elected representative of the people.
In its charge sheet filed on September 27, the police had said, “Nine African women were victims of molestation and manhandling by a mob led by the then Law Minister Somnath Bharti.” The charge sheet had said, “As per the investigation conducted so far, statement of witnesses, documents on record, there are sufficient evidence under sections 354, 147/149, 341(wrongful restraint), 506, 509 (uttering or making gesture to insult modesty of women), 153 A (promoting enmity between classes), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 427 (mischief and thereby causing damages to the amount of Rs 50 or above) and other sections of IPC against Bharti and 17 others.” The police has arrayed 41 persons as prosecution witnesses in the case, including nine Ugandan women who were allegedly beaten up and molested by the mob led by Bharti on the intervening night of January 15-16.
The FIR was lodged on January 19 on the court’s direction after an Ugandan woman had approached it seeking a direction to the police to file a criminal case against unnamed persons. Later, another African woman had approached the court seeking registration of a separate FIR alleging that she was also molested by the group. The court had directed the police that the woman be made a co-complainant in the first FIR as she was also “the victim” of the same incident.