Several suspects have been detained and scores of people, including family members, questioned in connection with the murder of businessman Deepak Bhardwaj who was gunned down at his Rajokri farmhouse on Tuesday. Mr. Bhardwaj was the richest candidate to have contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections which he had fought from West Delhi on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket.
Among those questioned on Thursday were Mr. Bhardwaj’s estranged wife Ramesh Kumari and the couple’s children Nitesh and Hitesh. Ramesh had been living with her two sons in Dwarka.
Investigations so far have indicated that the murder was a result of a conspiracy and the police do not rule out the involvement of family members or others having a property dispute with Mr. Bhardwaj or even his business rivals.
A police source described the relation between Mr. Bhardwaj and his wife as an “on and off” one. While there were several issues between the couple, Mr. Bhardwaj’s reluctance to engage his family members in the business deals he made and his intentions of wresting back control of the school they ran had been at the heart of the problem. He is also learnt to have had property disputes with his sons.
“So far we have managed to access the records of 14 to 15 properties he held, some of which were disputed. There could be more properties in his name and disputes concerning them leading to the crime also cannot be ruled out at this juncture. We are trying to find out what other properties he owned or was in the process of acquiring but since he did not share much with his family and had no confidante among his staff members, the process is bound to take some more time,” said a senior police officer.
Meanwhile, a Delhi Police team detained three men and seized a Santro car in Jind following a raid on the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday. However, after verification, the three - identified as Virender, Anil and Dharamvir - were let off, said the police on Thursday evening.
Police sources said there was a possibility of the accused crossing over to Haryana but said they did not take the Gurgaon toll booth, which is located close to the “Nitesh Kunj” farmhouse where the incident took place. Several teams are conducting raids in Haryana, western Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in search of the suspects.
The police also reiterated that the assailants were “quite familiar” with the farmhouse as they drove almost 500 metres into it without losing their way.
Several vehicles matching the description of the silver grey Skoda, used by the three assailants, have been seized.
“We are narrowing down further by going through the registration records of vehicles older than four years as it is apparent that the vehicle was not bought recently,” said a police source.
The footage of the CCTV installed at the farmhouse has also provided vital clues to the police including the faces of two of the three men who had come to the farmhouse on the pretext of booking the banquet hall within it for a marriage function. T
he police are also piecing together other clues, such as call detail records of the victim and the information provided by the employees, including the guards, present at the time of the incident.
Meanwhile, the post-mortem conducted at All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Wednesday established that Mr. Bhardwaj was hit by three bullets, of which two pierced his chest and the third the skull.
While the ballistic report is still awaited, the police suspect that country-made firearms were used by the assailants.