Half a point behind him on the second spot was Karthik Venkataraman of Andhra Pradesh.
In the girl's section, M Mahalakshmi of Tamil Nadu took a slender half a point lead over her nearest rival Sakhi Chitlange of Maharashtra in the Patliputra Sports Complex.
Playing black against S Jaykumar of Tamil Nadu, Bharakoti achieved absolute control over C file and penetrated it with his pair of rooks. He slowly broke the centre to mobilise his minor pieces.
When Jaykumar captured the b7 pawn with his queen, Bharatkoti captured a knight that gave him the game in the 32nd move.
Trailing the leader with 7 points, Karthik took advantage of white pieces and won a knight on 28th move to force S Dhananjay to resign.
Fide Master Harshal Shahi of Delhi and V Pranavananda of AP were locked in keenly fought game in which Shahi sacrificed his queen for a pair of rooks. Both agreed for a draw in 73 moves.
In the girls event, M Mahalakshmi of Tamil Nadu took lead of half a point over her nearest rival Sakhi Chitlange of Maharashtra.
Round seven leader Chitlange today lost to Mahalakshmi in Nimzo Indian game in which Mahalakshmi playing black got smooth play on the queen side and clinched the issue in her favour.
On board number two, Gudanti and Ntyata fought well in a game of Petroff's defence and settled for a draw. Tarini Goyal of Chandigarh, Isha Sharma of Karnataka and Sanyasakta Satpathi of Odisa were placed on 6 points each after winning against Rutuja Bakshi of Maharashtra, V Varshini of Tamil Nadu and K Priyanka of Tamil Nadu respectively.