The Uttarakhand government on Monday decided to remove Sukhdev Singh Namdhari as chairman of the minorities commission following reports that he accompanied Ponty Chadha to his farmhouse on Saturday where the liquor baron was killed in a shootout.
Namdhari, who was appointed by the BJP government in 2010, is dubbed as a close associate of Ponty and looked after the latter’s business interest in the hill state.
Director general of Uttarakhand Police Satyavrat Bansal said state police constable Sachin Tyagi, who was also PSO of Namdhari, opened fire on Ponty’s younger brother Hardeep. The Uttarakhand Police has sent a team to Delhi.
Uttarakhand chief minister Vijay Bahuguna announced the decision to remove Namdhari from his post.
“Namdhari is close to the BJP leadership in the state. Personally, I am against taking a decision that appears politically motivated but Namdhari has brought disrepute to the state,” said CM Bahuguna.
Former BJP chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had appointed Namdhari as the chairman of the minorities panel. BJP leaders, however, desisted from reacting to the development.
It is said Ponty was instrumental in getting Namdhari appointed since he had close links to powerful politicians in Uttarakhand just as he had clout among political parties in UP and Punjab.
Two years ago, Ponty’s associate companies were allotted almost a dozen power projects during BJP CM Nishank’s tenure. Sources said Ponty had invested R1,000 crore in the power projects but the allotment was cancelled midway after some other bidders challenged the allocation before the Uttarakhand high court.
The case is now pending before the Supreme Court.
Not only in the hydro power sector, Ponty had also considerable control over the sand and liquor business in state through hoax companies.
The Chadha family has deep ties with the hill state. The family migrated to Ramnagar in Uttarakhand via Delhi at the time of Partition.
Bhuwan Pathak, a local leader of the regional political party Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD), said Chadha’s grandfather started milk distribution business at Ramnagar in the ‘50s.
The family shifted to Moradabad in western UP in the 1960s and Ponty did his schooling in that city only.