Less than 24 hours after Delhi Law Minister led a midnight raid and tried to bully police into arresting some “Nigerians or Ugandans” who he alleged were members of “a prostitution-and-drug ring”, Somnath Bharti returned to the same spot today and asked residents to draw up a list of houses where “such people” live and said he would personally check each one.
The police, he said, would also be told to do the same. Elsewhere in the capital, Women and Child Welfare Minister Rakhi Birla tried to force the police to arrest suspects involved in setting a woman ablaze last week.
Birla claimed the police refused to break down the locked door of a suspect’s house.
Early today, the Malviya Nagar police took four “African nationals” to AIIMS for a medical examination. Hours later, Bharti returned to Khirki Extension, met residents and told them to draw up a list of suspected vice dens. “I am here to solve your problems. I request you to make a list of houses jahan aise log rehte hain (where such people live). This has been happening under the nose of the police for too long and I wanted to see what happens. We have not violated any laws,” Bharti said.
Asked what he would do with the list, he said, “I will be visiting each of these houses and I will urge the police to do the same. I have taken a vow to put an end to such things in this area.”
Bharti and a top police official were involved in heated exchanges mid-night last night in a South Delhi locality and Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal today came out in defence of his ministerial colleague.
Attacking the police for refusing to cooperate with Bharti, Kejriwal demanded suspension of two Assistant Commissioners and Station House Officers (SHO) of the Sagarpur and Malviya Nagar police stations for "refusing" to act against the alleged sex and drug ring.
"All of them should be suspended. If they are not suspended, neither Delhi government nor people of Delhi will keep quiet," Kejriwal said alleging that "Delhi Police is highly compromised."
Bharti, along with a group of his supporters, had gone to Khirki Village around mid-night yesterday and had a verbal argument with an ACP rank police official after he refused to conduct a raid at a building. Bharti alleged that a prostitution and drug racket was being conducted from the building.
"We told the SHO and the police men to arrest them but they did not pay any heed to us. They told us that they cannot raid. Then I asked the reason. We called the DCP but he did not answer our call. We have also called CP but he said something else," Bharti claimed.
The Minister claimed that local residents knew that the house was being used to run the racket. A heated argument broke out when police refused to raid the building.
Bharti had landed in a controversy after he allegedly rebuked Law Secretary A S Yadav after the official opposed the proposal to convene a meeting of all judges of Delhi courts.
He had come under severe attack from Congress and BJP over his being indicted by a court for "tampering of evidence" in a case in which he had appeared as a lawyer.
Defending Bharti, Kejriwal said the Minister did not interfere in functioning of police and was asking them to take action against those allegedly involved in the drugs and prostitution ring.
When asked about it, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi said he will be able to react after getting details of the incident.
On whether the police officials would be suspended following complaints from the Chief Minister, Bassi said, "I will seek information about what you are saying and appropriate action will be taken after that."
Giving account of the incident, a police official said the police team requested the Minister not to interfere in its work.
Narrating the incident, Bharti said, "When I reached the place I saw several women standing there. There were many people sitting in big cars. When I asked them what is happening here, all the girls started running and entered a building.
"Those policemen who had come with us were running slowly. My volunteers caught two women red-handed and put them in a van. After some time, another vehicle came in which three girls were sitting. They were also caught," he claimed.
(With inputs from PTI.)