Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, the sacked minorities commission chairman of Uttarakhand, may have provoked Ponty Chadha to take over the Chhatarpur farmhouse from his brother Hardeep, Delhi Police hinted on Thursday.
Keeping in mind the track record of Namdhari, who had over a dozen criminal cases against him including that of land grabbing, police sources said he could well have pushed Ponty to go to the farmhouse despite the fact that negotiations were on between the family members.
Namdhari, on whose statement the first information report on last Saturday’s shootout was lodged, is currently not in touch with the Delhi Police. Denying that Namdhari is absconding, Vivek Gogia, Joint CP (southwest range), said “We would like to talk to him. He is not with us. Whenever there is a need, we will talk to him”.
Namdhari was present when Ponty and his brother were killed in a shootout. In the FIR, he had stated that it was his personal security officer Sachin Tyagi who fired at Hardeep. This, he stated, was in self defence because Hardeep had fired at Namdhari.
Gogia said a few men in their statements to the police have pointed out that Namdhari’s men could have helped Ponty’s men in taking control of the farmhouse hours before the killings. Asked when was the last time the investigators spoke to him, Gogia said the police were in touch with him. Namdhari was sacked from his post by the Uttarakhand government after the shootout.
“If we manage to arrest Namdhari’s men and get evidence to establish that he was present when Ponty’s men were barging in, he could also be arrested. There are inconsistencies in his statements and we are verifying the facts,” said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.
The police have hinted that Namdhari’s statement might not be true, as no bullet marks were found near the car seat where he was sitting. “Namdhari and Ponty were sitting on the same seat and it is difficult to believe that after sitting so close to Ponty, Namdhari escaped unhurt. Tyagi is in our custody and we are trying to figure out the exact circumstances under which he fired,” the officer added.
Sources said Namdhari was close to Ponty and assisted him several times in “grabbing property”. Since Namdhari is not cooperating in investigation, police are scanning his call details and cell phone locations to know whether he was present at crime scene.