The Telegraph
Sunday , November 25 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Namdhari shot Ponty brother, court told

New Delhi, Nov. 24: Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, the sacked Uttarakhand Minority Commission chairman, was the main conspirator behind the shootout that killed liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep last Saturday, police have told the court. Namdhari fired the shot that killed Hardeep, they have added.

Namdhari, who accompanied Ponty allegedly to evict Hardeep from Chattarpur farmhouse where the shootout occurred, has confessed that he shot Hardeep from his pistol after the younger Chadha brother pointed a gun at him, the police said.

The defence counsel contested the claim, pointing out that Namdhari had filed the FIR in the case and rushed Ponty to hospital where he was declared dead.

After arguments from both sides, metropolitan magistrate Sandeep Garg sent Namdhari to five days’ police custody.

“The investigating agencies should be given an opportunity for their endeavour to recover the weapon used in the crime,” he said. “In view of the same, the accused is remanded in police custody for five days till November 28.”

Coming out of the court premises, Namdhari said: “I don’t want to talk more on this case. I just want to say that it was just an accident and the FIR was lodged by me in this case. I called police myself…. It is wrong to say that I fired. It is a matter of investigation.”

Namdhari was arrested from his Bajpur home in Uttarakhand home yesterday.

“He is the main conspirator in the shootout case as he and his men were involved in vandalising the farmhouse, besides in the loot, robbery and attempt to murder there. After filing an FIR into the case he went into hiding and in his initial statement he had not disclosed anything about the firing,” the police said.

While seeking his custody, the police told the court that Namdhari was Ponty’s frontman.

“Many other persons are also involved in this case and there is a deep-rooted conspiracy in the present crime. In this case, persons having assets of over Rs 1,000 crore are likely to be involved, in this conspiracy,” public prosecutor Manoj Choudhary said.

“Custodial interrogation at length is required to unearth the entire conspiracy in the crime,” he said.

The police told the court they had to trace Namdhari’s accomplices who were with him on the crime spot but “vanished later”. “Other associates also, who are hiding in Uttarakhand or Uttar Pradesh, are to be arrested,” the prosecutor said.

The court was also told that one of the accused arrested earlier had disclosed Namdhari’s involvement.

Ponty and Hardeep, who were fighting over the farmhouse, were killed when both sides opened fire.

A senior police official today said that as many as 14 cases were lodged against Namdhari in Uttarakhand.

“So far we have got information that there are 14 criminal cases against him including murder and bullying his rivals into submission to establish his monopoly in mining business.”

A few days ago he was sacked from the minority panel by the Uttarakhand government citing “doubts on his integrity” in the wake of the shootout incident.