A farmhouse in Chattarpur that became the site of a shootout on Saturday between Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep was more than a symbol of high social status worth fighting over: it had emerged as a battleground of egos.
It was their big egos that spurred on the brothers, who owned a business empire with a turnover of Rs. 6,000 crore, to spar over a Rs. 100-crore farmhouse.
The brothers had had an argument late on Friday over the possession of the Chattarpur farmhouse. The next day, Ponty or Gurdeep Singh Chadha, went to the disputed property along with 30-40 men.
Sources said Hardeep was in possession of the farmhouse but his brother wanted to “gift” it to a friend. A “For Sale” sign had been hung outside the farmhouse as well.
On Saturday, Ponty’s men took over the property and forced Hardeep’s associates out of the farmhouse. Hardeep reached the farmhouse after he was informed that Ponty and his men had gone there.
A police officer pointed out that it was difficult to ascertain who had fired first. “Hardeep is the accused if he shot Ponty first. But then, he is also dead. The security officer of the chairman of Uttarakhand government’s minority commission fired at Hardeep to save himself. Others had also fired in self-defence,” the officer said.
Ponty was stepping out of his Land Cruiser when Hardeep shot him. There are two bullet marks on the wall on the right side of the farmhouse, three on the wall on the left side and one on the bonnet of the vehicle. In the middle seat of the vehicle, there are four bullet marks.
The police, however, are still not sure about the sequence of events. This is because the security personnel attached to the brothers have been changing the statements frequently. “We have found seven guns, which include an AK-47, a 9mm carbine and a .32 and .30 bore pistol. Only a ballistic expert can say which guns were used to fire the bullets,” the officer said.
Ponty, who suffered 12 bullet injuries, had been fired at apparently using .32 and .30 bore pistols, while Hardeep’s body had bullets from a 9mm carbine. Hardeep had suffered four bullet injuries.
The police have lodged two FIRs, one for trespassing against Ponty’s men and another for murder, attempt to murder and kidnapping.
Sukhdev Singh, chairman of the Uttarakhand government’s minority commission, also an eyewitness to the shootout, said in his FIR:
I came to Gurdeep Singh’s (Ponty Chadha) residence at 9.30 am (Farmhouse No. 21, Central Drive, Chattarpur, Mehrauli) on Saturday. After spending some time there, around 12 pm I left with Ponty Chadha in his Land Cruiser to farmhouse No. 42.
The gate of the farmhouse was locked. Behind us was the security manager Narender who went to the main gate, took the keys and started unlocking the gate.
While this was happening Satnam (Hardeep Singh)... came with his gunmen and personal security officers. Hardeep came out of the car and shot at Narender. Narender ran inside the farmhouse. Hardeep came to our car after turning from the gate, and during this point Ponty was getting out of the car.
At this point, Hardeep Singh came towards Ponty while swearing at him all the time and started firing at him. I came out the car using the side door and he fired two bullets at me too. To save myself I sat behind the car. My official security officer fired at him to save me.
At this point his gunner and personal security officers were firing. After firing at him, Hardeep went inside the farmhouse. After this, I saw that Ponty was lying injured on the rear seat of the car.
Due to the bullet injury, a lot of blood was flowing from his body. I with the help of his driver took him to Fortis hospital in Vasant Kunj where doctors declared him dead after sometime.