Forty minutes before he allegedly gunned down his brother, Ponty Chadha, over a disputed farmhouse and was in turn shot dead by the liquor tycoon’s henchmen, Hardeep Singh made a frantic call to the police control room, investigations have revealed.
The police also said it was still not very clear who shot whom.
The PCR call was reportedly prompted by Ponty and his men barging into the farmhouse, in south Delhi’s Mehrauli area, which was in Hardeep’s possession after a court battle.
“The first call to the PCR was at 11.50am. The last call Hardeep made was to his lawyer at 12.24pm. Minutes later, the PCR received another call about the shootout. Hardeep was aware something was going to happen and called the police before he reached the farmhouse,” said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.
"The trigger was Ponty's taking possession of the disputed farmhouse. When Hardeep was informed about it by his men, he rushed to the spot and fired at Ponty after a brief altercation," the officer added.
The family business - encompassing liquor, real estate, sugar, power, film distribution - is worth Rs. 6,000 crore and the farmhouse that eventually
killed the dueling brothers Rs. 100 crore.
"It was more of an ego issue than the worth of the farmhouse. Hardeep's argument was that their father, Kuldeep Singh Chadha, had built the empire, so why should only Ponty get possession of everything, including the farmhouse. Hardeep did not want to give up the property and Ponty wanted it at any cost," said a source close to the family.
Among other details to emerge, the police claimed that bullet marks on the walls of the farmhouse and on the bonnet and seats of Ponty's Land Cruiser show the shootout took place outside the farmhouse gate.
The police have questioned 15 people, including the Uttarakhand government official who was present at the time of the incident. They said the security guards of the two brothers have been frequently changing their statements. Two cases have been registered but no arrests have yet been made.
Meanwhile, sources said the families of both Ponty and Hardeep did not want to pursue the matter further. "There is no counter-FIR or anything," said Harvinder Singh Sarna, Hardeep's father-in-law.