City law minister accuses police of defying 'orders'

Gets into heated argument with cops at roadside

Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti’s attempt to carry out a surprise raid to bust a prostitution and drug-peddling racket in south Delhi’s Khirki Extension ended  heated argument in a roadside with Delhi Police in the wee hours of Thursday. 

Bharti alleged that police refused to conduct a raid and arrest several foreigners accused of being involved in flesh trade. The minister further claimed that he tried to contact Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi and Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) B S Jaiswal, but they remained unavailable. Police have set up a probe into the incident and will report to LG Najeeb Jung.

Bharti said he went to the area at midnight after receiving multiple complaints during jan sammelan. Apart from being the minister, the 39-year-old Aam Admi Party leader represents Malviya Nagar constituency.

“I had received people’s complaints about a sex trade and drug-peddling racket flourishing in the locality with the help of foreign nationals, mostly Nigerians. Locals claimed that they are facing trouble because of this,” he said.

As Khirki Extension falls in his constituency, the minister decided to visit the area along with police and catch the women red-handed.

“Some of the women tried to run away when I went here with police. Two of them were stopped,” Bharti said, adding that people were heard discussing rates for prostitutes.

Police claim that Bharti then tried to force them to conduct a search on a building without a warrant, and question women, which is prohibited after dark. The minister said in “emergency situations”, a warrant is not necessary. “Police were not ready to conduct a search or raid the premises. They did not even listen to me, the law minister. Will they listen to people?” Bharti said.

The minister further said Malviya Nagar police station SHO Vijay Pal had come to the spot, but went away without taking any action. It is claimed that several female police officers were also at the spot. 

At least five foreigners were detained and taken to Malviya Nagar police station in police vehicles.Their medical examination was conducted at AIIMS for detection of drug consumption. The test did not confirm any amount of drugs or psycotropic substances in their blood and the women were released subsequently. Bharti, however, alleged that police tried to destroy evidence, which included illegal drugs and refused to get the medical examination of  women found  in “objectionable position”.

Calling his behaviour ‘irresponsible’, police have written a letter to the Lieutenant Governor. “He made a call to the control room, after which a PCR van reached the spot and later when the local police reached there Bharti asked them to conduct raid at the house. When a senior police official refuted to conduct a raid without a search warrant, Bharti forced the officer to conduct a raid, accused him of not performing his duty and also alleged in a verbal spat with him,” a police officer said.

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