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Ponty-Hardeep murders: SS Namdhari arrested

Nov 23, 2012 05:53 PM IST India India

New Delhi: Sacked Uttarakhand Minorities Commission chairman Sukhdev Singh Namdhari has been arrested on the charges of trespassing in the double murder case of liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep Singh by Delhi Police on Friday. Namdhari, who was a close aide of Ponty Chadha, was present at the Chhatarpur farmhouse in Delhi on November 17 when the two brothers allegedly opened fire at each other.

Namdhari is being seen as a key witness in the case. A Delhi police team had picked up Namdhari from his farmhouse at Bazpur in Udhamsinghnagar district in Uttarakhand and brought him to the national capital. The police also questioned him at his farmhouse before taking him into custody.

Sources said the police were bringing Namdhari to Delhi so that they could question him over the sequence of events that led to the death of the two brothers.

Meanwhile, Namdhari refuted reports suggesting that he had gone into hiding after the incident. "I filed the FIR in connection with the shootout incident and have been always ready to cooperate with the police in its investigations," he said.

On his removal from the minority panel, he said it was a political matter and he would not like to comment on it at the moment. Namdhari was removed from the panel after his name came under a cloud in the wake of reports about his presence at the farmhouse at the time of the shootout.

Ponty and Hardeep, the brothers who had dispute over properties, were killed when both sides opened fire at each other last Saturday in a farmhouse owned by their family. Police had on Thursday claimed that Namdhari's men could have aided Ponty in taking control of the disputed farmhouse hours before the killings.

Prior to the gunbattle at 12:30 pm on Saturday, which claimed the lives of the Chadha brothers, Ponty's men had allegedly entered the farmhouse at around 11 am, fired in air and snatched mobiles of Hardeep's staff before throwing them out. "Some people have given us statements that Namdhari's men were also part of the group (that trespassed into the Chhattarpur farmhouse). We are verifying that," Vivek Gogia, Joint Commissioner of Police (South-West), told reporters on Thursday. He, however, did not give a direct reply when asked about reports that Namdhari was absconding. There were reports that the police is on a lookout for Namdhari as his mobile phones are switched off and he is untraceable.

(With additional information from PTI)