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AAP rules out action against Somnath Bharti

Thursday, 23 January 2014 - 8:49pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI
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Aam Aadmi Party on Thursday ruled any action against Somnath Bharti even as pressure mounted on Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for removal of the controversial law minister for allegedly leading a group of assaulters in a mid-night raid in South Delhi last week.

Notwithstanding growing chorus for Bharti's sacking from Congress, BJP and other quarters, Kejriwal "has not changed" his position on the issue and is unlikely to take any action against the minister before completion of a judicial probe into the case, sources said.

Hardening stand against Bharti, a Congress delegation on Thursday met Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and asked him to direct the police to take immediate action against the minister as he was "not above law of the land".

"Delhi Police is not probing the case thoroughly. We have demanded the Lt Governor to direct Delhi Police to proceed as per law in this case. The Law Minister is not above the law. Whatever legal action is to be taken, should be taken. The LG has assured us of a fair probe," DPCC Chief Arvinder Singh Lovely, whose party is giving outside support to AAP government, told reporters after the meeting.

The Chief Minister also had a meeting with Jung in the morning but when asked about it he said the Bharti issue was not discussed. "It was a routine meeting," he said.

The Law Minister was involved in a row with the police last week when they refused to raid a suspected drug and prostitution racket following which he allegedly led his supporters in forcing the women to give urine samples.

Three foreign women have till date recorded their statements before a magistrate, in which they have stated that Bharti, the MLA from Malviya Nagar, had barged into their house along with his supporters on the intervening night of January 15-16, according to court sources.

Delhi police has already registered a case on January 19 against unknown persons on a plea.

Stepping up pressure on AAP, a delegation of Delhi BJP led by its president Vijay Goel met Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi and demanded immediate action against Bharti.

"The BJP will not relent till Somnath Bharti is sacked," Goel said.

The party said law should prevail and proceedings against him for his "misdemeanour" should reach their logical conclusion. It also alleged "match fixing between Congress and AAP to somehow stop Narendra Modi".

A number of women's rights activists have also demanded action against the minister saying he had violated laws relating to women.

The Delhi Commission for Women has summoned Bharti to depose before it tomorrow. DCW sources said if the Minister did not turn up then it will take up the matter with the Lt Governor.

Lovely said the Congress delegation also took up the issue of violation of Section 144 of CrPC by the Delhi Chief Minister by staging a two-day protest outside the Rail Bhavan in Raisina Hills area.

Asked why Congress was not withdrawing support from AAP government if the party thinks that Bharti was at fault, Lovely said that Congress gave outside support to AAP on 18 issues related to public welfare.

"If AAP government doesn't work on these issue, then we would definitely consider withdrawing support," Lovely said.

The BJP delegation that met Bassi also sought action against Kejriwal for staging the dharna flouting prohibitory orders.

"Kejriwal violated section 144 of IPC during his dharna outside Rail Bhawan for two days and yet he has not been named in an FIR and no action has been initiated against him. The law must take its course," said Goel.


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