Sacked Uttarakhand Minority Commission chairman Sukhdev Singh Namdhari was remanded in police custody for five days by a court here on Saturday after the police accused him of being the main conspirator in the shootout that left Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep dead. The police also alleged that Namdhari fired at Hardeep.

The police claimed that Namdhari in his disclosure statement had purportedly admitted to firing at Hardeep with his pistol when Hardeep allegedly pointed his gun at him. One of arrested persons also allegedly disclosed Namdhari’s involvement in the shootout, the police claimed. Namdhari was arrested by the Delhi Police from his residence at Uttarakhand on Friday.

In his remand order, Metropolitan Magistrate Sandeep Garg said “the investigating agencies should be given an opportunity for their endeavour to recover the weapon used in the crime.”

Besides accusing Namdhari of being the main conspirator in the shootout, the police alleged and that he had not disclosed about the shootout when he lodged the FIR and has also allegedly hidden his gun. Others who accompanied him at the time of the shootout but were now hiding, in Uttarakhand or Uttar Pradesh, also have to be arrested, the police said.

Namdhari claimed the incident was just an accident and that he had informed the police, rushed Ponty Chadha to hospital, and also lodged the FIR in the case. His counsel told the court that his client was being falsely implicated in the case.

The police accused Namdhari of vandalising the farmhouse, committing loot, attempt to murder and of being Ponty Chadha’s front-man.

The prosecution told the court that there was a “deep-rooted conspiracy” in the case and “persons having assets of over Rs.1,000 crore is likely to be involved in this conspiracy,” while enunciating the need for custodial interrogation to unearth the entire conspiracy.

The police claimed that a total of 26 criminal cases have been lodged against him in Uttarakhand between 1993 and 2009 and that eight of them are murder cases. It told the court that he has been accused of threatening people and several requests to cancel his firearms license were received.

Namdhari's counsel R. S. Mallik argued that Namdhari cannot be considered a conspirator as the other FIR lodged in the case by Hardeep's driver Nand Lal did not have mention of his involvement. Counsel said that Namdhari was only accompanying Ponty to his farmhouse, when Hardeep allegedly opened fire at him and the shots fired back at Hardeep were only in self-defence.

Meanwhile, the case has been handed over to the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police.