The standoff between Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung and the Delhi government took a new turn on Tuesday when Jung cleared AAP MLA Somnath Bharti’s prosecution for being a part of the infamous Khirki Extension midnight raid last year.
The Delhi police had been reportedly waiting for over eight months to get necessary sanctions against Bharti in connection with the raid that allegedly targeted African women in the dark South Delhi area.
The police required sanction under Section 196 of the Criminal Procedure Code (prosecution for offences against the state and for criminal conspiracy to commit such offence).
That nod was so far caught up in a bureaucratic tangle but with the LG’s permission, trouble is very much back for Bharti and the Aam Aadmi Party.
Bharti had also kicked up a controversy earlier on Monday when he seemed to suggest ‘beautiful women’ will be able to go out at midnight in the national capital provided the AAP government takes over the policing system.
“I am fully confident that if Delhi government is given full freedom (over security), beautiful women will be able to go out even after midnight without any fear. “We will provide a fully-secure Delhi…,” Bharti allegedly said during a special Delhi assembly session on women safety yesterday.
However, Bharti later clarified his comments on Twitter saying he only meant “beautiful women laden with jewelries can travel.”
Bharti’s comment invited sharp criticism from both Congress and the BJP.
“It is absolutely disgusting and derogatory towards women, but it is not surprising coming from someone who defied law even when he was law minister. It really shows his attitude,” DPCC chief spokesperson Sharmistha Mukherjee said.
“The remark shows what he thinks about women. It is highly objectionable remark of Bharti. He made a comment in presence of chief minister who did not stop him from using such words for women,” said senior BJP leader Vijendra Gupta, who is an opposition leader in the Delhi assembly.