Two weeks after realtor Deepak Bhardwaj was gunned down at his farmhouse in South Delhi, the police on Tuesday claimed to have unravelled the entire conspiracy behind the murder with the arrest of his younger son Nitesh and a lawyer, Baljeet Sehrawat.
According to the police, the entire deal to kill the billionaire businessman was sealed for a sum of Rs. 5 crore which Nitesh had purportedly promised to pay to Baljeet, a part of which (Rs. 50 lakh) was given as advance. The third alleged conspirator and a vital link in the planning and execution of the murder, a godman named Swami Pratibhanand, is stated to be on the run. Describing the roles of all the alleged conspirators and the motive behind the murder, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South District) Chhaya Sharma said it was a layered conspiracy at the root of which was Nitesh’s displeasure at the treatment meted out to him and other members of his family by his father in the recent past.
The family of Mr. Bhardwaj, which also includes his estranged wife Ramesh Kumari and elder son Hitesh, continues to remain under the police scanner and even on Tuesday. The police did not rule out the complicity of other family members.
During investigations, the police found that Nitesh had destroyed his mobile phone on the same day his father was murdered. Asked about it, Nitesh claimed that he had dropped the phone due to which it was damaged.
As the answer appeared unconvincing, the needle of suspicion pointed towards him. The police then confronted Nitesh with his call details. “During interrogation, he confessed to his involvement and that of Baljeet, who was in regular contact with Deepak Bhardwaj and had also worked as a commission agent in a few property deals concluded on behalf of Mr. Bhardwaj,” said the police officer.
After Nitesh approached Baljeet, who had plans to contest elections from the Mahipalpur Assembly seat, he was initially told to bear his election expenses. However, later Baljeet demanded a fixed sum of Rs. 5 crore. The lawyer allegedly roped in Pratibhanand on the promise of paying him Rs. 2 crore. The Swami then hired his driver Purushottam and through him, Amit and Sunil.
The police had earlier arrested the two alleged contract killers, Purushottam and Sunil, besides two others, Amit and Rakesh.
During interrogation, Purushottam disclosed that he was promised a sum of Rs. 1 crore and was paid an initial amount of Rs. 2 lakh to purchase firearms. At his instance, the police claim to have seized the weapons of offence and the getaway vehicles. The police suspect that Pratibhanand had agreed to carry out the murder as he needed the money to purchase land for an ashram.
On March 26, the killers drove into Nitesh Kunj farmhouse at Rajokri in a car driven by Amit. While the 62-year-old realtor was taking a morning walk, Purushottam and Sunil allegedly pumped three bullets into his body and drove off in the vehicle. However, their identities were established through the footage of closed-circuit television cameras installed inside the farmhouse.
The registration number of the vehicle captured by the CCTVs also provided crucial leads to the investigators in unravelling the mystery behind the sensational murder. A sum of Rs. 30 lakh has been recovered from Baljeet, the police said.