NEW DELHI: Even as the farmhouse shootout that felled the Chadha brothers, Ponty and Hardeep, continues to puzzle investigators, they are moving quickly to solve the cases related to the acts of trespass and assault at the Chadhas’ two farmhouses that reportedly pitted the brothers against each other on Saturday.
On Tuesday, four men from the Ponty Chadha camp were arrested for their suspected involvement in the Saturday morning raid at the Chhattarpur farmhouse, where the tragic shootout occurred hours later. The accused include Ponty’s protocol manager who was allegedly leading the bandof goons, the personal security officers of Ponty and his daughter, and the driver of a Scorpio that was found at the crime scene. The FIR in the case was recorded on the complaint of Hardeep Chadha’s driver Nand Lal Sharma.
The four — Bhupender Singh, resident of Friends Colony, Uday Raj Singh alias Anna from Meerut, Rajpal Singh from UP and Anand SinghBisht from Almora, Uttarakhand — have been charged with criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder, dacoity, assault, unlawful trespass, illegal confinement and kidnapping, and remanded to five days’ police custody. Licensed pistols have been seized from the first three.
These are the first arrests in the Chhattarpur farmhouse case although two men, Vijay alias Malik and Madan Rana, were arrested on Monday for trespass at the Chadha’s farmhouse in Bijwasan (G-19). They have been remanded to two days’ police custody.
Police sought five days’ remand for the Chhattarpur case accused saying other suspects are yet to be arrested and the four need to be confronted with the articles seized from the farmhouse. However, the defence counsel opposed the police’s demand, arguing that the accused were unlikely to have trespassed as the farmhouse belonged to Ponty.
Police are going over whatever little CCTV footage they have found at the farmhouses, and have not given a clean chit to anyone, including Ponty’s friend Sukhdev Singh Namdhari — sacked chief of Uttarakhand’s minorities commission — and his security officer who allegedly shot Hardeep. Sources said police are not attaching special significance to Namdhari’s statementalthough he witnessed the shootout as there are inconsistencies in his account. He will be questioned about his purpose in accompanying Chadha to the farmhouse, said a senior officer.
“We are questioning Namdhari to verify his statement that Hardeep’s PSOs also fired when others have denied this. He has stated that his PSO, Sachin Tyagi, shot dead Hardeep, and also that Hardeep walked inside the farmhouse after shooting Ponty. These are conflicting statements. We want to know how Namdhari and his PSO escaped unscathed from Hardeep’s gunfire” a source said.
Namdhari’s history of suspected involvement in heinous crimes also goes against him, said the source, adding, his statements will be tallied with those of his PSO and the injured security manager, Narender.
Meanwhile, the shootout case remains a mystery. Police have still not confirmed the exact number of weapons recovered from the spot or the make of bullets used and recovered. Questions about Ponty’s Land Cruiser getting hit from behind when Hardeep was allegedly shooting from the front remain unanswered.