Delhi police registered an FIR against AAP MLA Somnath Bharti Wednesday for allegedly abusing a TV news anchor.
“An anchor of a Noida-based news channel lodged the complaint against Bharti under IPC sections 504 (breach of peace) and 509 (outraging the modesty of a woman). We have taken cognizance of the complaint and will take down statements of both the anchor and the lawmaker. The complainant has also submitted a video as proof of the alleged verbal abuse,” Sita Singh, in-charge of Noida’s women police station, said.
Bharti, however, claimed that his voice was doctored. “My face is not visible in the debate. I spoke to her over the phone. My voice has been altered and parts of my arguments have been edited to make it sound hurtful,” he claimed. He also demanded that a full copy of the tape be put out in the public domain, and that he is considering legal action against the complainant.
As per the FIR, Bharti spoke to the anchor over the phone during a debate on Tuesday afternoon. During the call, Bharti allegedly got agitated and hurled abuses at the woman. He allegedly also abused the channel’s owners, calling them puppets of the ruling party, the FIR stated.
“I am deeply hurt and humiliated by Bharti’s words… We have to ask questions as journalists, and it is shameful that lawmakers respond in such a manner. The AAP is accountable and I am asking (DCW chief) Swati Maliwal to take action against her party member since it concerns rights of women”, the anchor told The Indian Express.
Maliwal said: “I strongly condemn his misogynistic and shameful statements against a female reporter.”
Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari said: “If you (AAP) have any morality or shame, take action against Bharti, who has insulted all women.”
AAP, in a statement, said: “Police have already registered a case against Bharti. If he has done anything wrong, law will take its own course.”