Somnath Bharti, an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) legislator, was arrested on Thursday, charged for allegedly assaulting security staff at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
He is a founder member of Delhi’s ruling party AAP and is considered to be one of the most “accessible” of the legislators. He has also acquired the dubious reputation of being the ‘enfant terrible’ of the party.
In the past three years he has been charged with at least three FIRs and here are some of the major controversies that he has been involved in:
Tampering of evidence:
In 2013, him and his client, who were facing prosecution on corruption charges, were called forth by the then CBI special judge Poonam B Bamba, for having allegedly influencing a prosecution witness by speaking to him over the phone regarding the case.
In 2014, the Malviya Nagar MLA made his first major headline for a snowball controversy as he allegedly led a midnight raid in south Delhi’s Khirki Extension targeting African women who claimed to have been molested and manhandled by the mob.
News channels had aired the footage showing Bharti engaged in heated argument with the top cops after leading local crowds to “expose” a “drug and sex cartel”.
Domestic abuse allegations:
Lipika Mitra, Bharti’s wife, also pressed charges, accusing him of demanding dowry, sexual and mental torture and infidelity to the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) in June 2015. She had filed the complaint to the police as well which made Bharti run for cover after the matter came to light. This led to Delhi’s Chief Minister, Arvind Kejriwal, to tweet asking Bharti to turn himself in.
This was not the first domestic abuse complaint filed against him by his wife. She had filed a similar one in 2011 but later withdrew it.
On September 9th, the chief of security officer accused Bharti for allegedly trying to encroach upon government property and disrupting the peace at the hospital. In the complaint, the officer claimed that Bharti and roughly 300 of his supporters bashed security personnel who had asked them to leave the premises.A case was registered under various sections pertaining to rioting, damaging public property and obstructing a public servant from discharging his duty.