A Delhi court Thursday discharged the AAP MLA from Narela, Sharad Chauhan, and five others in connection with abetting the suicide of a party worker.
The court, however, framed charges of abetment of suicide against Chauhan’s close associate, Ramesh Bhardwaj, who is facing allegations of sexually harassing and molesting the AAP member who committed suicide following his harassment.
Additional Sessions Judge M K Nagpal discharged the MLA observing that the woman, in her dying declaration, did not attribute any role to the accused and that “because Chauhan was the local MLA and Bhardwaj or any other accused was close to him or his name”, these cannot be considered as “incriminating circumstances against him”.
The court held that there is sufficient prima facie evidence to hold Bhardwaj responsible for the woman’s suicide and framed charges under IPC Section 306 (abetment of suicide). It held that there is no prima facie evidence or material on record to show the existence of any criminal conspiracy between Bhardwaj and the other accused. The court observed that the allegations against Bhardwaj “cannot be taken as constituting mere harassment of the deceased, but the same is found sufficient to have prima facie pushed the deceased to the extreme step of taking her life”.
The court said that as far as Bhardwaj’s role is concerned, it can be seen “by his repeated acts and conduct that he had left no other option except to take her life”. It said that even after the sexual harassment incident, he continued harassing her and that there were sufficient evidence on record to show that.
Chauhan was represented by Pradeep Rana. Rajnikant, Mohan Lal Verma, and Sanjay were represented by R S Malik and Pardeep Khatri respectively.
The prosecution had alleged that the accused “conspired together and harassed the deceased by various acts and deeds and had forced her to take her life”.