The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday issued a statement calling Delhi High Court's verdict of two year prison sentence for MLA Somnath Bharti as 'injustice'. The ruling party of Delhi further added that it has faith in the judiciary and justice will be done to him at the appellate level.
Former Supreme Court lawyer Bharti was sentenced to two years in jail by the court on Saturday in a 2016 case of assaulting the security staff at AIIMS and causing damage to hospital property.
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, granted bail to Bharti enable him to file an appeal before the high court against his conviction in the case and jail term.
It is Arvind Kejriwal led AAP that issued a statement immediately after their Minister of Law, Tourism, Administrative Reforms, Art & Culture from the 2013-14 government was directed to prison.
Bharti had told the court that police officials and other witnesses had deposed against him to falsely implicate him in the case. In its statement, the AAP said, "We respect the judiciary and have full faith in the judiciary. However, we feel injustice has happened to Mr Somnath Bharti in this case." The party said Bharti is filing an appeal.
"We are confident that justice will be done to him at the appellate level," it said.
"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.
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. The case was lodged on the basis of a complaint from R S Rawat, Chief Security Officer, AIIMS.
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 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.
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.
"I have full faith in the judiciary and I am filing an appeal against the order of Ld ACMM in the FIR by which I was convicted and sentenced while other similarly placed 4 persons were acquitted. Justice will prevail," ANI reported Somnath's statement.
The AAP leader is not new to controversies. In 2014, as the law minister in the then Kejriwal government, he led a late-night vigilante raid against some African women, accusing them of being drug runners.
In 2015, he was arrested in connection with a domestic violence case lodged by his wife. He was later cleared of the charge.