The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday said that "injustice" has been meted out to party MLA Somnath Bharti after he was sentenced to two years imprisonment on the charge of assaulting the AIIMS security staff in 2016. "Somnath is filing an appeal. We are confident that justice will be done to him at the appellate level," the party said in a statement.
According to the prosecution, on September 9, 2016, Bharti, along with nearly 300 others, brought down the fence of a boundary wall at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here with a JCB operator.
"We respect the judiciary and have full faith in the judiciary. However, we feel injustice has happened to Mr Somnath Bharti in this case. Somnath is a very popular leader and is loved by everyone in his constituency. He works 24 hours for his people. People are quite sad in his constituency as the news of his conviction is spreading," the AAP said.
Bharti, however, was granted bail to enable him to file an appeal before the high court against his conviction in the case and jail term. He had told the court that police officials and other witnesses had deposed against him in order to falsely implicate him in the case.
The court convicted Bharti for various offences under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 353 (assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) and 147 (rioting). It also held the AAP MLA guilty under section 3 (mischief causing damage to public property) of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. The offences carry a maximum punishment of five years in jail.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Ravindra Kumar Pandey also imposed a fine of Rs one lakh on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader. "The court is of the considered view that the prosecution has duly proved its case beyond all reasonable doubt against accused Somnath Bharti," the magistrate said.
The court, however, acquitted Bharti's associates and co-accused -- Jagat Saini, Dileep Jha, Sandeep Sonu and Rakesh Pandey -- citing a lack of evidence against them. The case was lodged on the basis of a complaint from R S Rawat, Chief Security Officer, AIIMS.