NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police suspect that Aam Aadmi Party MLA Somnath Bharti has changed his appearance and is hiding somewhere in Haryana or western Uttar Pradesh. Police also said that he was taking help from two persons with criminal history to evade arrest.
According to police, Bharti, who faces non-bailable charges in a case filed by his wife, is behaving like a ‘criminal’. “Somnath Bharti seems to have changed his appearance. He may be in disguise. We are considering all angles now,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (South Western Range) Dependra Pathak.
Bharti has been dodging police since Tuesday, when the Delhi High Court rejected his petition for protection from arrest. He was last believed to be in Agra.
Based on technical surveillance, police say he is now moving between Haryana and Western Uttar Pradesh. “Bharti is also being sheltered by some people with criminal history and four and five men protecting Bharti are always accompanying him,” said another police officer.
Some of the men with him are believed to be from AAP. “There are serious charges against Somnath Bharti and anyone harbouring him or providing shelter, logistics and other resources to him will be subjected to legal action for the criminal offence,” Pathak added.
On Wednesday evening, Bharti was suspected to be in north east Delhi’s Khajuri Khas. On Thursday, he left Delhi and moved towards Agra. Later, he switched off his mobile phone. On Friday, his mobile phone was found active in Haryana.
Pathak said several police teams had been sent to potential hideouts of the former Delhi Law Minister. On Thursday, a raid was also conducted in Agra, but Bharti managed to flee on time.
Meanwhile, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia expressed surprise over the entire episode and said that Bharti was being treated like a terrorist. “The way police is searching for Bharti, as if he is a terrorist, and the way Bharti is avoiding arrest, both are surprising,” said Sisodia.
Bharti faces charges under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 323 (causing hurt) and 498-A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code.
Shockingly, a team of police officials went to Bharti’s residence and took his dog ‘Don’ to a vet clinic in south Delhi, to get the ailing labrador examined. The dog suffers from heart ailment and has been on medication for quite some time.
“When we learnt that the dog has not taken medicines since its master became untraceable, trying to evade arrest, we sent policemen from the local district and asked them to get the dog medically examined during Bharti’s absence,” said a senior police officer.