Ponty Chadha death: Brother Hardeep fired first, say police

New Delhi: Investigators working on the Delhi farmhouse shootout that left liquor and real estate baron Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep dead today claimed to have figured out the sequence of events leading to the sensational killings.

The Delhi police said Saturday's encounter between the two brothers was sparked off by Mr Chadha's alleged attempt to lock up the Chattarpur farmhouse that he and Hardeep had a dispute over.

Police said Mr Chadha, whose real name is Gurdeep, visited the farmhouse at around 10.30 am with his friend Sukhdev Singh, 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 personal security officer 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 shootout happened on Saturday around 1 pm. Mr Chadha suffered 15 bullet wounds and Hardeep four. While most bullets went through Mr Chadha's body, four remained lodged and were removed in two post-mortems today.

Fifteen people are being questioned in the case and call records of Mr Chadha being checked.

This was the second incident of firing at Mr Chadha's residence. On October 5, gunshots were reported from his house in Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad district.

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)