AAP backs Bharti as clamour for his ouster grows

Party leader justifies midnight raid

AAP backs Bharti as clamour for his ouster grows

Delhi Law Minister Somnath Bharti on Th­u­rsday got the backing of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s political affairs committee on his controversial midnight “raid” against Ug­andan women, even as the cla­m­our for police action ag­ai­n­st him and his removal from the cabinet grew louder.

AAP leader and committee member Yogendra Yadav justified Bharti’s raid, saying his actions should be “appreciated”. Yadav said the raid was aimed at helping local residents who had complained about an alleged prostitution and drug racket involving foreigners in the Khirki Extension in south Delhi.

Bharti is facing heat over alleged harassment of Ugandan women during his raid on January 17. During the day, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met Lieutenant Governor (LG) Najeeb Jung, even as a Congress delegation petitioned Jung for a fair probe against Bharti.

A BJP team met police chief B S Bassi for early action against the minister, and a court sought a report from police for filing a fresh FIR against the beleaguered minister over the raid against the Ugandan women.

Metropolitan Magistrate Chetna Singh sought a report by Saturday from the police on the plea of a Ugandan woman who allegedly faced harassment during the raid, but
had not filed any complaint thus far.

A Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson said it was collecting details from authorities in Delhi on the incident, whose details it plans to share with Uganda and other African nations. Delhi Commission for Women chairperson Barkha Singh said Bharti was likely to appear before the panel on Friday at 3 pm over a complaint filed against the raid by various women's rights activists.

“He accepted the summons sent by us on Wednesday and has informed us about his participation in the proceedings tomorrow (on Friday),” she said. Earlier, Kejriwal described his meeting with Jung around 11 am as “routine”. Asked about the demands for Bharti’s resignation, he said, “Let’s see. We will see.”

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