New Delhi, Nov. 18: The family of Ponty and Hardeep Chadha, who died in a fratricidal shootout yesterday, put their pictures side by side in a newspaper obituary this morning but their mother’s wish to have a joint cremation almost got derailed.
The obituary said the brothers’ last rites would be performed together at Delhi’s Lodhi Road crematorium at 4.30pm but a last-minute hitch — the discovery of more bullets in Ponty’s body that necessitated a fresh autopsy —threw a spanner in the plans.
Eventually, the second post-mortem was completed tonight itself and the brothers were cremated side by side around 10pm.
Through the evening, family elders led by matriarch Prakash Kaur were trying to persuade Hardeep’s sons to delay their father’s funeral till tomorrow, arguing the brothers should be cremated together. In the event, the rites didn’t need to be postponed beyond a few hours.
Earlier, when the previously undetected bullets were discovered, sources had suggested that this would have relieved Ponty’s son Manpreet who apparently didn’t want his father cremated alongside his killer.
Police sources today confirmed that Hardeep, 49, had killed Gurdeep aka Ponty, 55, and revealed the sequence of events based on eyewitness accounts, correcting certain details given out yesterday in the immediate aftermath of the farmhouse shootout. ( ).
The Chadha family today attempted to tell the world that the brothers’ differences —over property and the control of a business empire estimated to be worth Rs 12,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore — were now buried in their hour of grief.
Amid the buzz of a looming succession war between the brothers’ immediate families, the Chadhas put up a united face. The half-page obituary had the names of the slain brothers’ mother, their wives and children, fathers-in-law, sisters, brothers, uncles and aunts.
Doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) conducted autopsies on the two bodies, which lay on adjacent slabs at the mortuary, and released them for cremation.
But as hundreds waited at the crematorium, the doctors suddenly told the police they had failed to take out three bullets from Ponty’s body. The police stopped the family from taking the body to the crematorium, insisting it be sent back to AIIMS for a second autopsy.
The doctors later clarified that Ponty had been hit 15 times but 11 of the bullets had passed through his body. They had removed one of the bullets in the first post-mortem. Hardeep had taken four bullets, all of which were extracted.