While seeking the custody of Somnath Bharti before a court on Tuesday, the Delhi Police, in all seriousness, disclosed its plan to “test” whether the arrested AAP leader’s dog Don “bites when incited by his master”.
Bharti, a former law minister of Delhi, was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday after he had surrendered on Monday night. He is facing charges of domestic abuse and attempted murder, made by his wife Lipika.
Don, a labrador, has turned into a central character in the ensuing drama, with Lipika claiming that he had bitten her after being instructed to do so by Bharti.
The police on Tuesday told the court that it plans to examine whether the “dog bites” in his “master’s presence”, prompting the AAP leader to quip that he was not a “veterinary doctor” and the dog didn’t have to be examined in his presence.
Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Shailender Babbar told Metropolitan Magistrate Manika that Bharti’s custodial interrogation was required, among other reasons, to ascertain if the dog bites when incited by the MLA.
“The dog acts on the command of the master. The master has to be present. We have to ascertain if the dog bites when incited by Bharti. This can be done in police custody,” said the SPP.
Though the police had sought Bharti’s custody for five days, the court granted custody only for two days, saying that was “sufficient for interrogation”.
The Delhi Police also told the court that it will seek the opinion of a “veterinary doctor” to verify Lipika’s allegations about being bitten by the dog.
“This is a serious issue, nothing to mock…We will consult a veterinary doctor to ascertain all the facts in the case and it will be done in the presence of specialists,” added the SPP. Reacting to the prosecutor’s statement, Bharti said, “I am not a veterinary doctor that the examination of a dog should be conducted under my supervision. This is no grounds for my custody”.
The police also told the court that Bharti’s custody was needed to question him about some jewellery and a knife, believed to be evidence in the case.
“Let them conduct searches in my wife’s house. It is she who alleged that I slit her wrist with a knife at her residence. I am in no position to help…,” said Bharti.
The AAP leader’s counsel Vijay Aggarwal claimed that the police had not allowed his client access to any kind of legal aid during interrogation and no arrest memo had been given to him under the provisions of the CrPC. Bharti’s counsel also expressed his apprehension that “police could plant false confessions” to “implicate him”.
“This is just a design to keep me in custody and this has been done for political compulsions,” said Bharti.
Cops to take Bharti to Agra, Mathura
Investigators have decided to take arrested AAP leader Somnath Bharti to Agra and Mathura — where he was suspected to have been hiding while he was absconding — to find his “associates” who allegedly helped him evade arrest.
“We have decided to take him to Agra and Mathura on Wednesday morning, where we will make him face those who assisted him while he was on the run. The investigators also intend to confront him with all the facts and circumstances of the case,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (South-Western range) Dependra Pathak.
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