Thursday, 2 October 2014

Court sets Oct 10 for Bharti chargesheet

NEW DELHI: A trial court on Wednesday fixed October 10 for considering the chargesheet filed against former city law minister Somnath Bharti for molestation and other offences in a case pertaining to his purported midnight raid on a house where some African women were residing.

Investigating officer Vijay Chandel told metropolitan magistrate Chetna Singh that as per earlier direction of the court, charge sheet was filed in the case on September 29.

Bharti and 17 others have been chargesheeted under 16 section of IPC including 153-A (promoting enmity between classes), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (outraging modesty of women), 509 (uttering any word or making any gesture intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 147 (rioting).

Police, in its chargesheet, has cited around 40 prosecution witnesses including nine African women. It includes statements of the victims under 164 CrPC, medical reports, CCTV footage, video footage shot by TV channels and witness statements. The women have identified Bharti and the others as accused. The statements recorded before a magistrate is admissible as evidence in court and the women can be prosecuted for perjury if they retract.

They had alleged that Somnath Bharti, MLA from Malviya Nagar in south Delhi, had barged into their house along with his supporters on the intervening night of January 15 and 16.

Other African nationals had alleged that the women were subjected to a cavity search during their medical examination at AIIMS and were were

were humiliated. Bharti and the other accused have denied these allegations and claimed they were taking action against sex and drug rings active in the area.

In the video footage of the incident, Bharti is seen leading a group of people in the "raid" and arguing with the ACP of the area. Television footage shows the minister ordering police officers to conduct the raid, claiming he had received complaints of prostitution and drug trade in that area.

The women have in their complaint said they were assaulted and molested by the group.

After the women approached the court with an application seeking registration of an FIR, it issued orders in this regard and has been monitoring the police action since then. The investigations have been carried out by the Mehrauli police. On September 10, the court had asked police to file their final status report "without fail".


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