Accused in Bhardwaj murder acquittedUpdated: Dec 10, 2019 22:36 IST
New Delhi A Delhi court has acquitted all the nine accused persons in the murder case of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Deepak Bhardwaj, who was shot dead on March 26, 2013, by two men at his farmhouse in south Delhi’s Rajokri. During the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Bhardwaj was one of the richest candidates, with a net worth of over ₹603 crore.
Following the murder, Delhi Police had claimed to have solved the case and arrested his son, Nitesh Bhardwaj, for the murder. The police had claimed that Nitesh had promised ₹5 crore to one of his friends for the murder. The police had also contended that Nitesh had hired his friend, Baljeet Sehrawat, an advocate, who, in turn, roped in self-styled godman, Swami Pratibhanand, for the murder.
On November 25, additional sessions judge Satish Arora acquitted the accused persons — Rakesh, Purshottam, Sunil Singh, Amit Mann, Nitesh Bhardwaj, Deepak’s son, Baljeet Singh, Machindernath Namdev alias Swami Pratibhanand and Ramesh Kumari.
Advocate Mukesh Kalia, who represented Nitesh Bhardwaj, said that all the accused were acquitted as the eyewitnesses did not support the police case. “The Delhi Police was relying heavily on the eyewitness’ account and on the versions of the other witnesses. However, the said persons (witnesses) did not support the case of the prosecution,” Kalia told HT.
Despite repeated calls and texts, deputy commissioner of police (south-west), Devender Arya, was not available for comment.
The police had suspected than Nitesh had plotted the murder because he was furious with his father for neglecting the family and refusing to give him a share of the family’s property.
Following the murder, Pratibhanand had evaded arrest for over four years. After Bharadwaj’s murder, he was on top of the list of Delhi’s most wanted men. He was finally arrested on September 16, 2017 by the Ghaziabad police.
The police had earlier claimed that Pratibhanand needed ₹2 crore to build an ashram, due to which he helped Nitesh with the murder.
In 2009, Deepak had contested parliamentary elections from the west Delhi constituency on a BSP ticket. He was one of the richest candidates. He had declared movable assets worth ₹52 crore and immovable assets worth ₹551 crore.