New Delhi: The "hide and seek" game continued between the city's ex-law minister Somnath Bharti and the police on Friday over a domestic violence case filed by his wife. Police have traced his hideout and picked up his dog from Malviya Nagar in south Delhi.
Police source said it has traced the hideouts of Bharti, an Aam Aadmi Party leader, somewhere in Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. It also picked up his pet Labrador -- "Don" -- from his Malviya Nagar residence in south Delhi.
Don, which had allegedly attacked Bharti's wife Lipika Mitra at the behest of Bharti, is now at the centre of a police probe and was picked up on Friday.
A member of the six Delhi police teams, searching for Bharti to arrest him, said: "Apart from changing his locations, the legislator is also using different mobile phones and sim cards."
"Bharti has so far (within four days) changed more than six mobile phones and sim cards. The location of his last two sim cards indicated his movements somewhere in Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh," the official told IANS on condition of anonymity.
Sources in Delhi Police said Bharti was changing his locations and was being accompanied by four-five of his close aides who were arranging safe shelter for him.
"Once Bharti is arrested, the people helping him will be prosecuted as per the law," said the official, adding that a separate FIR would soon be registered against the people who have allegedly harboured Bharti.
The official said that Bharti left Delhi and moved towards Agra on Thursday morning.
"On Friday morning, a phone of some of his friends being used by him was traced near Haryana. But now the phone has been found switched off. His new location might be in western Uttar Pradesh."
Joint Commissioner of Police Deependra Pathak told IANS that Bharti was behaving like a professional criminal and changing his locations.
He said Bharti's location was somewhere in east Delhi on Wednesday but the next day he was traced in Agra in Uttar Pradesh but managed to give the slip to the police team that rushed there.
"Our separate teams are already conducting raids at different locations at his possible hideouts and he would be arrested soon. He is moving in different disguise. He was a law minister and he should join the investigations," added Pathak.
In the past three days, the police have questioned around 12 people inquiring about Bharti's whereabouts and all of them are under the scanner for allegedly harbouring Bharti, which in itself is a criminal offence.
The people questioned so far about Bharti's whereabouts include his brother Loknath Bharti, whose name also figured on the complaint filed by Lipika Mitra, and Bharti's private secretary, and his sister Stuti apart from a few other employees in his office and party workers from Malviya Nagar.
The office and residence of Bharti were raided on Tuesday evening after Bharti's anticipatory bail was dismissed by Delhi High Court. But he could not be found.
Bharti was named in an FIR filed at Dwarka north police station in west Delhi.
Police said they filed the FIR following a June 10 complaint by Bharti's wife Lipika Mitra who said he had been abusing her since their marriage in 2010.
She claimed that Bharti used to beat and torture her and once tried to kill her.
Delhi Police then registered an FIR against Bharti under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) relating to attempt to murder, cruelty towards wife, voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon, criminal breach of trust, attempt to cause miscarriage without woman's consent, cheating and criminal intimidation.