A Delhi court on Wednesday sent realtor Nitesh Bhardwaj, son of billionaire BSP leader Deepak Bhardwaj, to six days' police custody for allegedly killing his father even while the defence opposed the judicial questioning.
File photo of dead BSP leader Deepak Bhardwaj. HT archive
A lawyer co-accused was also sent to police custody for interrogation for six days till April 16.
Metropolitan Magistrate Prashant Sharma granted police remand of the two accused, saying allegations against them were serious in nature and investigation was still at an initial stage.
Nitesh, 36, Bhardwaj's younger son, was arrested Tuesday for his father's March 26 murder at a Delhi farmhouse. Nitesh's aide and advocate-cum-property dealer Baljeet Singh Sehrawat, 51, was also arrested the same day.
Both accused were presented before the magistrate by police.
The court said: "It is specified in the application that co-accused have to be traced, SIM cards used by accused have to be unearthed, money involved in the case has to be recovered...and motive of the accused has to be investigated vis-a-vis their criminal conspiracy in the offence in question."
Police said in their application that they needed the custody of the accused to conduct raids on the possible hideouts of co-accused in Dehradun and Haridwar in Uttarakhand, Solan in Himachal Pradesh and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh.
The public prosecutor said the custody of accused was needed to establish the chain of events which led to Bharadwaj's killing.
The magistrate said: "These aspects of the case need detailed investigation. Therefore, present application moved by IO (investigation officer) is allowed. Accused Nitesh Bhardwaj and Baljeet Singh are sent to six days' police custody. They be medically examined before and after police custody."
The court also directed police to get the accused medically examined after every 48 hours.
The prosecution also told the court that police were still to establish the motive behind the crime and trace the source of money allegedly paid for the contract killing.
Nitesh destroyed his mobile phone which he was using during the time of conspiracy and commission of crime, the prosecution said.
The prosecution said Baljeet Singh's custodial interrogation was needed to know the whereabouts of co-accused Pratibhanand, who is untraceable and on the run.
Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, appearing for Nitesh, opposed the police remand of the accused, saying there was no evidence against his client and the arrest was not justified.
"They have to justify in the court that they have material to arrest Nitesh," the advocate added.
Gupta said that accused had been cooperating with the investigators and there was no need to arrest him.
He said, on one hand, the police application in court said that the motive was yet to be established, and on the other, the area deputy commissioner of police Tuesday disclosed the alleged motive of the crime on camera.
Deepak Bhardwaj was gunned down by contract killers Sunil Mann alias Sonu and Purushottam Rana alias Monu at his 35-acre farmhouse in south Delhi.
Bhardwaj was one of the richest candidates for the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and had declared assets worth Rs.600 crore.