Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung Gives Nod to Bharti's Prosecution
NEW DELHI: Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has given the nod to prosecute former state Law Minister and AAP legislator Somnath Bharti in a molestation case registered against him by African women following a midnight raid by Bharti and his supporters in January 2014.
“Taking cognisance of the seriousness of the case, the Lieutenant Governor has given the police sanction to prosecute Bharti,” sources in the Lieutenant Governor Office said.
However, Delhi Home Minister Satyendra Jain said that the sanction for Bharti’s prosecution sanction should not be given.
Earlier this year, a city court had asked Delhi Police to secure sanction from the competent authority for prosecuting Bharti .
In the chargesheet filed in September, the police had said that the “Nine African women were victims of molestation and manhandling by a mob led by Bharti” in Khirki Extension area in Delhi.
Bharti and 17 others were chargesheeted in the case under 16 Sections of the Indian Penal Code, including outraging the modesty of women. In the 100-page document, the police cited around 41 prosecution witnesses, including the nine African women to subtantiate the charges.
The former Delhi Law Minister was not the only AAP MLA facing legal troubles.
On June 9, the then Law Minister Jitender Singh Tomar was arrested on charges of possessing fake degrees following which he resigned from the Cabinet. In July, AAP MLA from Kondli Manoj Kumar was arrested in connection with a case of alleged cheating and land grabbing.
Bharti has also come under severe criticism for his comment that ‘beautiful women’ would be able to go out at midnight provided the AAP Government took over the policing system in the national capital.
“I am fully confident that if Delhi government were given full freedom (over security), beautiful women will be able to go out even after midnight without any fear,” Bharti said during a discussion on setting up of Commission of Inquiry in the Delhi Assembly.
Senior BJP leader Vijendra Gupta said it was a “highly objectionable” remark, while the Congress dubbed it as “absolutely disgusting and derogatory towards women”.
“But it is not surprising coming from someone, who defied law even when he was a law minister. It really shows his attitude,” DPCC chief spokesperson Sharmistha Mukherjee said.
However, Bharti on Tuesday defended his remarks, saying it was just a figure of speech.