Arvind Kejriwal meets Lt Governor; action against Somnath Bharti?
New Delhi – Under intense pressure to sack Law Minister Somnath Bharti, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday met Lt Governor Najeeb Jung.
Kejriwal has been reluctant to take action against Bharti and has defended him even after a Ugandan woman, who was assaulted in a midnight raid in south Delhi, accused him of having led the group of AAP workers that barged into her house and attacked them.
“We were attacked on Wednesday night by Indians, who were led by Somnath Bharti. We were harassed and hit with sticks they were carrying. They told us to leave the country or else they will kill us one by one,” the woman said.
The Delhi Police, which had earlier filed an FIR against “unknown people”, may have to book Bharti in the case as the Ugandan woman has named him in her statement before the magistrate.
The Law Minister and his supporters have been accused of illegally detaining Ugandan women and forcing them to undergo medical tests.
Bharti attracted more ire after he said that he would spit on the faces of BJP leader Arun Jaitley and senior lawyer Harish Salve for being critical of him.
Clearly, Bharti is on shaky ground but Kejriwal has so far backed him firmly but the whole episode has hit AAP’s image.
One of AAP’s main demands during its two-day dharna was the suspension of the Malviya Nagar station house officer for alleged inaction in the raid case.
The party, which later settled for paid leave as ‘punishment’ to the police officer, seems unwilling to take action against Bharti, which may help in ensuring fair probe in the case.
The opposition has alleged that the dharna was an attempt to save Bharti.
By using different yardstick when it came to his own minister, Kejriwal has exposed himself to criticism of not being willing to admit any wrongdoing by AAP leaders.
Activists have also sought Bharti’s removal from the post of law minister for ‘misbehaving’ with the African women. A group of women activists have written an open letter to the Delhi Chief Minister, saying the conduct of the law minister was “shocking and is not acceptable”.
The Delhi Commission for Women summoned Bharti but. so far, he has refused to heed to the summons.
“We had asked him to appear before the commission on Tuesday, but he did not show up. We will send another summons through the concerned station house officer on Thursday. If he does not appear, we will write to Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and the Delhi police commissioner to register an FIR,” said Bharka Singh, the chairperson of the Delhi commission for women.
NCW chairperson Mamta Sharma said now it is clear that Bharti was present there at the spot as it has been confirmed by the Ugandan woman.
Sharma also made a startling revelation. She said the SHO cannot summon Bharti as he was being threatened by Aam Aadmi Party supporters
The National Human Rights Council (NHRC) too has taken cognizance of the matter and issued a notice to the Delhi Chief Secretary.
Meanwhile, the Opposition has sharpened its attack on AAP. Delhi Congress chief Arvinder Singh Lovely will take a delegation to the Lt Governor to demand action against Bharti.
The Delhi BJP’s district units will also stage a sit-in on January 24 to press for the resignation of Bharti from the state Cabinet.