The Delhi Police on Sunday recovered a licensed 7.62-mm pistol and five cartridges from the residence of Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, alleged conspirator in the Delhi farmhouse shootout, from Bazpur in Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand.
The gun, whose licence was issued in Namdhari's name in SAS Nagar (Punjab), was allegedly used in the shootout which claimed the lives of liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep. The SAS Nagar administration is under the scanner for issuing the licence as Namdhari, sacked chairman of the Uttarakhand minorities commission, does not own a house (proof of residence) in the district.
SAS Nagar senior superintendent of police (SSP) Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said, "The licence was issued to Namdhari in 2008, before I joined. We are verifying how he managed to get it. The Delhi police is sending us a report and we will forward the case to the deputy commissioner for cancellation of the licence."
Earlier, the Delhi police team, accompanied by Namdhari, arrived at his residence in Bazpur at 8 am and conducted searches till 11 am. Mediapersons were not allowed to enter the palatial house during the operation.
Addressing mediapersons, Delhi crime branch inspector Ashok Kumar said, "We have recovered a pistol. We are trying to find out whether it was used in the shootout."
Namdhari's counsel Vijay Garg said, "The police raided the house without any warrant. They are harassing him (Namdhari) at the behest of Hardeep's relatives."
Taking to HT, DR Arya, SHO, Bazpur, said, "The Delhi police brought Namdhari and recovered the weapon. They are ascertaining whether the pistol was used in the November 17 incident."
The Delhi Police had told a magisterial court on Saturday that Namdhari had confessed to having shot Hardeep with his pistol at the farmhouse when the latter pointed a gun at him.
A close relative of Namdhari, requesting anonymity, said Ponty Chadha trusted him (Namdhari) more than his own brothers. Namdhari came close to Ponty after the former's name figured in an FIR regarding the killing of a notorious gangster of the region, Gurbachan Lal Sharma, in 1995.
Talking to HT, the relative said, "Two years ago, Namdhari went to Ethiopia (Africa) with Ponty to buy land, but the deal could not be finalised and Ponty suffered a loss of nearly Rs. 17 crore." Namdhari's small-time agriculturist family shifted from Bhaini Sahib (Ludhiana) in the late 1970s and settled in Bazpur, popularly known as 'Mini Punjab'. In the late 1980s, Namdhari started business as a transporter and now owns stone crushers in Bazpur and Saharanpur.
Bazpur's Punjab connection
Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal once owned a farmhouse of nearly 500 acres in Bazpur (later it was sold). Congress MLA from Kapurthala Rana Gurjeet Singh and Punjab industrialist Hardyal Singh Cheema also have farmhouses in this Udham Singh Nagar town. Bazpur also has Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda's ancestral farmhouse; the CM's nephews are managing it.