Sukhdev Singh Namdhari has been accused of the murder of liquor baron Ponty Chadha's brother Hardeep Singh Chadha. Both brothers were killed in a dramatic shootout in their father's farmhouse in south Delhi a couple of weeks ago.
The Delhi Police today added the murder charge against Mr Namdhari; he had previously been accused of trespass and attempt to murder. The court hearing the case has extended Mr Namdhari's police custody by three days. The police has accused him of opening fire at Hardeep Chadha and killing him, a charge that he has so far denied. He has been accused on the basis of a statement of co-accused Bhupinder Bisht, who used to be Ponty Chadha's body guard. Mr Namdhari will be produced in court on Sunday.
Police had earlier told the court that Mr Namdhari had shot Ponty Chadha's brother Hardeep, claiming he has said in his statement to the police that he fired his gun when Hardeep pointed his at him.
Mr Namdhari had reportedly gone missing to evade arrest and was tracked down by Delhi Police and arrested from his Uttarakhand farmhouse on November 23 on the basis of Mr Bisht's statement. Mr Bisht was also arrested for assaulting Hardeep's men.
A gun that was allegedly used by him in the Chhatarpur shootout was recovered from him and police claim that his son had tampered with it to cover his involvement. Police has used this in court as well to nail their claim of his being the prime suspect.
It accused him of vandalising the farmhouse and committing loot and attempt to murder.
The police say that on November 17, Mr Namdhari along with 30-40 of Ponty's associates went to the farmhouse to forcibly take over the property.
Mr Namdhari was member of the Uttarkhand Minorities Commission till he was removed following his alleged involvement in the murder of the Chadha brothers. He is also believed to have been a go-between for business deals for the brothers. He is accused in several criminal cases.
The shootout in the Chadha's farmhouse in Delhi's Chhattarpur area was the result of continuing business-related tensions between the two brothers. The family ran businesses mainly in liquor and real estate worth several thousand crore, all made in less than two generations.
According to the police, Ponty Chadha, whose real name is Gurdeep, visited the farmhouse on November 17 at around 10.30 am with Mr Namdhari.
Mr Chadha, 55, allegedly asked his men to put 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 believe 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 nine-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.
At the end of the cross-firing, both the brothers were dead.
(With inputs from agencies