The Delhi Police have identified the possible motive behind the shootout that led to the death of liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep at their farmhouse in Delhi on Saturday. The police says, the two brothers were at loggerheads over their properties for months, and the long standing feud culminated on Saturday.
Due to intervention by family elders, matters between the two brothers were kept under control for months. However, on Saturday, Mr Chadha's men tried to evict his younger brother's men not only from their farmhouse in Chhattarpur, where the shootout happened, but also from another farm in Kapashera, located near the border between Delhi and Gurgaon. Police claims Hardeep lost his temper because of these multiple incidents.
But a man close to the family has rejected this theory. Paramjeet Singh Sarna, who is the brother of Hardeep's father-in-law, has told NDTV that there was no property dispute between the brothers. He claims he mediated between the two earlier and had resolved all outstanding property disputes between them. Mr Sarna also said he does not believe a dispute over the farmhouse, where the shooting took place, was the trigger for the killings.
The families of both the brothers are now approaching the Delhi Police with the plea that the involvement of a third party in the entire shootout should be investigated. They are basing their argument on the number of bullets fired and empty shells recovered from the spot.
Meanwhile, sources have told NDTV that the Delhi Police will write to the Ministry of Home Affairs questioning how could the two brothers get security from the Punjab Police within the jurisdiction of Delhi. As per law, only elected representatives and government officials are supposed to get security from the police of other states.
Mr Chadha, 55, was given five Personal Security Officers (PSOs) and his brother, Hardeep, three PSOs by the Punjab Police. Top Delhi Police sources say that they will also seek an explanation from the Punjab police on the matter.
Hardeep, who was in his thirties, had allegedly opened fire at the farmhouse with bullets first hitting Ponty's guard Narender and then Ponty himself. Then the guards from both sides opened fire. Officials say the PSOs given to the brothers by the Punjab Police were not involved in the firing.
The Delhi Police is hard at work to solve this case. They have questioned nearly 100 people, and have arrested three people so far. NDTV has learnt that 11 teams of the south Delhi police are working on the case. Earlier today, a forensic team reached the farmhouse to continue their investigation and reconstruct the sequence of events that they believe led to the shootout.
The shootout had happened on Saturday around noon. Mr Chadha suffered 15 bullet wounds and Hardeep four.
According to the police, Mr Chadha, whose real name is Gurdeep, visited the farmhouse at around 10.30 am on Saturday with his friend Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, who heads the Uttarakhand Minorities Commission.
Mr Chadha, 55, allegedly asked his men to dab black paint over the farmhouse board carrying Hardeep's name. An enraged Hardeep, investigators said, got a wind of this and rushed to the farmhouse from Noida around noon.
Police said Hardeep first ran into Mr Chadha's aide Narender at the farmhouse gates and shot him. He then fired several shots at Mr Chadha and his SUV, using his licenced 9-mm pistol.
Mr Singh told the police that Hardeep then turned the gun on him and fired twice, following which his PSO Sachin Tyagi from the Uttarakhand police opened fire in retaliation.
Mr Tyagi has been detained, but the police are yet to arrest him.
The police have registered a murder and attempt to murder case. Another case of trespassing and kidnapping has been registered on the complaint of Hardeep's aide Nandlal, who told the police that Mr Chadha, after arriving at the farmhouse, confined him and some other employees to a room. The call records of Mr Chadha are also being checked.
Sources have said that the Uttarkhand Government has launched an inquiry against Mr Namdhari. He could be removed from his current position as the head of the Uttarakhand Minorities Commission, sources add. (Read: Uttarakhand Chief Minister hints at Sukhdev Namdhari's removal
The three Chadha brothers - Ponty, Hardeep and Rajinder - were jointly managing the estimated Rs. 6,000-crore Wave Inc, formerly the Chadha Group, which has diverse business interests in fields ranging from distilleries, multiplexes, sugar to paper mills.
Mr Chadha was thought to have been close to several prominent politicians. He hit the headlines in February this year when income tax officials conducted searches at his premises in Delhi, Noida, Moradabad and Lucknow.
(With PTI inputs