Former Delhi Law minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Somnath Bharti was linked to a fresh controversy in the national capital on Monday after some people, alleged to be AAP workers, thrashed a civic official near the Deputy Commissioner (DC) office of South zone in Green Park.
According to the police, the victim was identified as Ashok Kumar, who is an executive engineer with the south municipal corporation.
“He was allegedly beaten up by some people who were protesting against the demolition of a house in Hauz Khas area in South Delhi,” said a police official.
The incident took place minutes before Mr Bharti along with some of his supporters reached the spot to protest against the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and its demolition drive.
Mr Bharti, however, claimed that those involved with the incident were not AAP workers and he had nothing to do with them.
He later met the South DC along with his supporters and questioned him as to why the MCD never takes action against the “high and mighty” and always targets the common man.
Mr Bharti also said that MCD should do a survey and make a list of people including MPs, ministers, MLAs and councillors who have broken building bye-laws and take action against them before razing the house of a commoner.
He also claimed that the authorities are specifically targeting AAP supporters.
In his complaint about the incident, the executive engineer claimed that he was beaten up by four people who were allegedly wearing AAP caps and were protesting outside the office before Mr Bharti arrived.
This is not the first time Mr Bharti’s name has cropped up in a controversy. Last month, he led a midnight raid where Ugandan women were allegedly abused over local complaints of a sex and drug trafficking ring. Mr Bharti, along with supporters and some residents, allegedly accosted the African nationals as part of their “raid” on a sex and drugs racket in a building in Khirki Extension, which is in the minister’s Malviya Nagar Constituency. He also took along a police team, who say he tried to bully them into arresting the women without a warrant or evidence.
The raid created a huge furore with the BJP and the Congress, along with activists, demanding Mr Bharti be sacked.