AAP’s Somnath Bharti Convicted in 2016 AIIMS Vandalism Case

The Quint
·2 min read

A special court in Delhi on Saturday, 23 January, sentenced Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Somnath Bharti to two years imprisonment for assaulting the security staff of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in 2016 and imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the leader.

The other five co-accused are Jagat Saini, Dileep Jha, Sandeep Sonu and Rakesh Pandey but were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

What Was the Case?

According to IANS, on 9 September 2016, Bharti, along with nearly 300 others, demolished the fence of a boundary wall at AIIMS in Delhi, with a JCB operator.

The case was registered following a complaint from RS Rawat, Chief Security Officer, AIIMS.

What the Court Ruled

Bharti had submitted before the court that he was falsely implicated in the case by police officials and other witnesses, who deposed against him.

The magistrate observed that Bharti's defence did not hold any merit in view of the other corroborating against him.

The court also upheld allegations regarding the presence of a JCB machine, instructions given by Bharti to the driver for the JCB machine and manual action of the mob demolishing the fence.

The court also noted that the injuries suffered by witnesses during the incident – while protecting the demolition of a boundary wall’s fence at AIIMS – and due to stone-pelting by the mob were also duly proved by the prosecution.

“He is held guilty and convicted for the same,” said the magistrate. The offences carry a maximum punishment of five years in jail.

After the verdict, Bharti was granted bail to file an appeal before the High Court to challenge his conviction in the case and jail term. The magistrate noted that key witnesses specifically stated that accused Bharti was leading the mob, which broke the fence at the boundary wall of the AIIMS with the JCB machine as well as manually.

What AAP Says

The Aam Aadmi Party issued a statement saying that it has faith in the judiciary but also defended Bharti saying “injustice” has happened to him.

“We respect and have full faith in judiciary. However, we feel injustice has happened to Somnath Bharti in this case. Somnath is a very popular leader and is loved by everyone in his constituency. People are quite sad in his constituency as the news of his conviction is spreading,” the party said, as quoted by ANI.

“Somnath Bharti is filing an appeal. We are confident that justice will be done to him at the appellate level,” the party said.

(With inputs from ANI and IANS.)

. Read more on India by The Quint.AAP’s Somnath Bharti Convicted in 2016 AIIMS Vandalism CaseAs BJP Rakes Up ‘Christian’ Identity, Jagan Builds Pro-Hindu Image . Read more on India by The Quint.