Aam Aadmi Party leader Somnath Bharti, who was arrested early on Thursday for allegedly inciting a crowd to damage part of All India Institute of Medical Sciences boundary wall and misbehaving with security officials, was granted bail by a Delhi court which ruled that chances of the legislator fleeing from justice was remote and he deserved the relief.
Metropolitan Magistrate Anuj Aggarwal allowed the bail plea of Bharti while rejecting an application moved by Delhi Police seeking 14-day judicial remand for him.
Bharti was produced before the court following his arrest on Thursday afternoon.
“Considering facts and circumstances and nature of the offence and the fact that he is an MLA and a member of bar and, therefore, chances of his fleeing from justice are remote, I am not inclined to send him to judicial custody and he deserves to be granted bail,” the magistrate said, while asking him to join the probe and not influence witnesses.
In his order, he said ‘on perusal of record, in my view Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Cdoe is not attracted at present since the security guards who were allegedly assaulted, do not fall within the ambit of public servant’.
The court said of the provisions for which Bharti was booked, there were only two non-bailable offences -- Section 353 of IPC and section 3 (mischief causing damage to public property) of the Prevention of Damage To Public Property Act.
During the hearing, police sought to remand the MLA in judicial custody saying that being a member of the legislative assembly of ruling party, he may threaten witnesses and hamper the probe, if bail was granted.
Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, representing Bharti, opposed the police plea for judicial custody saying the accused was falsely implicated out of political vendetta.
The counsel also claimed that police arrested Bharti to prevent him from representing another arrested party MLA Amanatullah Khan before the court.
Bharti was arrested by a police team from Malviya Nagar on Thursday afternoon and taken to Hauz Khas Police Station where the case was registered against him on September 11. The case was registered on the basis of a complaint filed by chief security officer of AIIMS R S Rawat.
In his complaint to police, Rawat had alleged that Bharti had provoked the mob to damage the fence of the hospital with JCB at Gautam Nagar Nallah road in order to give access to unauthorised persons inside AIIMS property and also misbehaved
with security personnel.
The case was registered against Bharti under Indian Penal Code sections 147 (punishment for rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of his public functions), 353 (assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) and 3/4 Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.
Bharti had then defended his action and accused the AIIMS of ‘lying’ on the issue.
‘AIIMS is lying. They have been denying legitimate access to Gautam Nagar residents. AIIMS even refused to (go to) Public Works Department meetings. Wherever common man will be troubled I will go. The allegation that residents dismantled the wall is a blatant lie. I will fight in court,’ he had tweeted.
Bharti was previously arrested by Delhi Police in December 2015, in connection with the attempt to murder and domestic violence case filed by his wife.
Fifteen AAP MLAs have been booked by the Delhi Police till now on various charges and 12 have been arrested.
The AAP sought to defend Bharti, saying the police action was a ‘diversionary tactics’ in view of elections in Goa and Punjab.
“This is poll season and till the elections are not over in Goa and Punjab, arrests like these will keep happening,” Delhi Health minister and senior AAP leader Satyendar Jain said.