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Domestic violence: Somnath Bharti's family friends confirm allegation

New Delhi: Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Somnath Bharti's wife Lipika Bharti, has filed a complaint of domestic violence against her husband with the Delhi Commission of Women (DCW). According to sources close to Bharti, the couple has had a rocky relationship for a number of years, and her allegations of domestic violence may not be entirely misplaced.

"Me and my children are subject to continuous physical and mental torture by my husband. There is a persistent threat to life from my husband and his supporters. This has been going on since 2010," Lipika has alleged in her 26-page complaint.

Giving an instance of violence, she wrote, "He had set his dog on me when I was seven-month pregnant."

Lipika went on to allege that Bharti did not support her in taking care of their children. Accusing him of forgery, she further said that the lawyer-turned-politician had lied to her before marriage that he owned an 'international law firm'.

"I want a separation. I want out from this marriage and live with dignity with my children," she added.

The Commission has issued a notice in this regard to Bharti instructing him to appear before it on 26 June.

"He (Somnath Bharti) used to torture her (his wife) physically, verbally and mentally. Before leaving Delhi, he hit her and issued life threat. She has bruises on her body," DCW Chairperson Barkha Singh told adding that Bharti “did not even spare his children. They too were beaten.”

Sources close to the Bhartis paint a picture of a marriage that was in trouble from the very start.

“Soon after their marriage in 2010, the relationship between Mr Bharti and his wife (Lipika Mitra) started turning sour because he was not very much concerned about the family. They mainly had tiffs over financial issues and the maintenance of his mother," a person close to Somnath Bharti said.

"While Lipika is working with a multi-national firm and drawing a handsome salary, Bharti does not earn much from his law practice. And therefore, he was economically dependent on his wife. He is aggressive by nature and often loses control over language," he said.

He said the lawmaker was never a 'caring husband and a caring father.' He claims that that the couple had reached the point of separation earlier in the marriage.

"A similar situation had arisen earlier as well and at that time, the matter had reached to the extent of their separation. But the matter was settled with the intervention of family members and close friends," he added.

The couple has been living separately for the past three years.

The differences between the couple turned ugly when Lipika allegedly evicted her mother-in-law from their Dwarka residence.

"Lipika threw Bharti’s mother out. Bharti took her to Khirki Extension in Malviya Nagar and gave a room in his office where she is still living," said another person who is also close to the family.  He too claimed that the AAP legislator often used to physically and verbally assault his wife as alleged by in the DCW complaint.

Bharti, who is in Kerala for party work, termed the allegations “baseless and shocking,” and said that he is “deeply pained” to know about his wife going public with “family matters”.

“Allegations of domestic violence if any are baseless and inconceivable. I love my wife and my little children but I do not know what prompted her to file such a complaint,” he said.

He said his wife was putting pressure on him to leave his mother and politics.

"She is asking me to leave my mother. How can I do this? Where will I send my mother in this old age? She also wants me to quit politics. It is true that because of joining politics, my family life has got affected. I cannot spare time for my family. I understand her pain but this could have been sorted out sitting together, not by going public,” Bharti said.

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