The man who allegedly planned and led the hit on slain politician-cum-businessman Deepak Bhardwaj had ‘forced’ his associate to tag along, sources claimed on Monday.
According to sources, Sunil Mann, a local goon from northwest Delhi’s Alipur, had initially approached his friend Purushottam Rana, a professional wrestler-cum-arms supplier, to procure weapons.
“Mann recently got embroiled in a local gang war of sorts with another goon nicknamed ‘Goga’ and had intended to buy weapons from Rana,” said an officer.
“However, before selling him the arm(s), Rana told Mann that he would first have to help him get rid of Bhardwaj. This was why he apparently acceded to be a part of the plan.”
Sources claimed Rana, who used to attend an annual wrestler’s camp at Maharashtra’s Kolhapur, was preparing to leave for it over the weekend when he landed on the police’s radar.
That was why the police had issued lookout notices (LOCs) against the duo in addition to alerting railway authorities about Rana and Mann’s possible plan to undertake a journey.
“After he was nabbed from the Patiala House court complex, he initially told us that he had killed Bhardwaj since the latter owed him Rs.50,000 which he was refusing to return,” said an officer.
“The fact that the murder was carried out for a paltry sum of Rs.50,000 seems highly unlikely since the car specially procured to execute it was bought for a little over R8 lakh by the accused,” the officer added.
However, after several contradictory statements made by Rana during interrogation, police have been able to ascertain that the hit — apparently priced at Rs.50 lakh — had been ordered by someone close to Bhardwaj.
It was also established that the hit order had been passed over by two to three persons.
Sources said they had been able to ascertain the involvement of a professional godman, whom the arrested duo refer only to as ‘Swamiji’. The swami stays somewhere near Haryana’s Jhajjar district and acted as the aide of the main conspirator.
CBI probe sought
Meanwhile, a petition was filed in the Delhi High Court on Monday to seek a CBI probe into the Bhardwaj’s murder. The petition, which raised serious doubts over police investigation, is likely to come up for hearing on Wednesday.