Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, the sacked Uttarakhand Minorities Commission chairman on whose complaint a case of murder of business tycoon Ponty Chadha and his younger brother Hardeep at a Chhattarpur farmhouse here was registered on November 17, has been arrested at Udham Singh Nagar in Uttarakhand for alleged criminal trespass into the property then in possession of Hardeep.
Mr. Namdhari, who was previously booked in 14 cases, was arrested at his Bajpur residence in Udham Singh Nagar. It is alleged that he had been evading the police after questioning of some witnesses revealed that his men were also part of the group that attempted to evict Hardeep’s employees from the Chhattarpur farmhouse allegedly at Ponty’s instance.
“A team was dispatched to Uttarakhand following a tip-off on Thursday,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (South Delhi) Chhaya Sharma on Friday.
Mr. Namdhari claimed he had not been evading the police. “I have committed no crime. I took Ponty to the hospital after he was shot at and injured. He was my good friend and I had gone there to meet him when the shootout took place,” he told media persons at his residence, alleging that some political rivals including a few in the Bharatiya Janata Party were trying to malign his name.
Barely an hour before the two brothers were gunned down in an exchange of fire at the farmhouse, Ponty’s men allegedly made a forced entry into the premises, beat up Hardeep’s employees, kept them in confinement and then drove them out after robbing them of their mobile phones. The assailants also fired several rounds in the air. The police suspect that country-made firearms could also have been used.
Some weapons were allegedly supplied to the group that targeted the Chhattarpur farmhouse by Mathura Singh Mehra (30), a domestic help of Ponty, who has also been arrested in the Chhattarpur farmhouse trespass case along with four others. Two persons have also been arrested for their involvement in a similar attempt at another farmhouse in Bijwasan.
Some witnesses have indicated that over a dozen people involved in the Chhattarpur trespass case owed allegiance to Mr. Namdhari. “He is also suspected to be part of the conspiracy hatched to dispossess Hardeep from the properties in question. The extent of his involvement in the matter is yet to be determined. No one, including him, has been given a clean chit in the murder case,” said a police source.
While Mr. Namdhari in his complaint had claimed that Hardeep opened fire first, the police are also probing other possibilities, as his body was found in a guard room close to one of the farmhouse gates.