New Delhi: A Delhi court on Thursday directed the investigating officer (IO) to appear before it on January 16 with a reply on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Somnath Bharti's plea for further probe in the case of alleged molestation of some African women during his purported midnight raid here.
Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) Ankita Lal posted the matter for hearing on January 16 as neither Delhi Police's IO nor Bharti's counsel was present in the court during the day.
"I have pursued the record. Let the matter be listed for the purpose fixed i.e.- hearing on the plea of further probe on January 16, 2015. IO is directed to appear on the next date of hearing," the magistrate said.
On November 5, the court had transferred the matter, including Bharti's plea seeking registration of FIR against unknown police officials, to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) after his counsel had objected to "longer" date of hearing given by it.
The CMM had yesterday marked the case for further hearing to the court of MM Lal after Bharti's plea was dismissed.
Earlier on October 27, when the magisterial court was scheduled to hear arguments on the point of consideration of charge sheet, Bharti had moved a plea for further probe in the case alleging that he was falsely implicated in the matter.
The court had thereafter asked the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) and the station house officer of Malviya Nagar police station to respond to Bharti's plea within a month.
In its charge sheet filed on September 27, Delhi Police had said that "nine African women were victims of molestation and manhandling by a mob led by the then Law Minister Somnath Bharti".
Police, in its charge sheet against Bharti and 17 others, have booked them under various sections of the IPC, including 354 (outraging women's modesty), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 147 (rioting).
The police arrayed 41 people as prosecution witnesses in the case, including nine Ugandan women who were allegedly beaten up and molested by the mob led by Bharti on the intervening night of January 15-16.
In its charge sheet, police had said forensic reports of the victim's urine sample were awaited but reports of video footage collected from CCTV cameras installed at AIIMS, where the victims were taken for medical check-up, and news channels have been received.
The FIR was lodged on January 19 on the court's direction after an Ugandan woman had approached it seeking a direction to the police to file a criminal case against unnamed persons.
Later, another African woman approached the court seeking registration of a separate FIR alleging that she was also molested by the group.
The court had on January 29 asked police to file a status report while refusing to order lodging of a separate FIR on the plea.
However, it had asked police that the woman be made a co-complainant in the first FIR lodged on January 19 as she was also "the victim" of the same incident.