Godman arrested for BSP leader's murder in 2013
GHAZIABAD: Since his involvement in the contract killing of BSP politician Deepak Bhardwaj in 2013 at the victim's residence 'Nitesh Kunj in South Delhi, Swami Pratibhanand had been dodging Delhi Police for four years.
However, luck finally ran out for the self-styled godman, after he was arrested by Ghaziabad Police late Friday night.
Ghaziabad Senior Superintendant of Police, H N Singh, told press persons on Saturday that a police team lead by Akash Tomar, Superintendant of Police (City), arrested the self-styled godman from a railway station in the city.
Several police teams had been working to locate Machhendra Nath, alias Baba Pratibhanand, who had gone underground after Delhi Police started looking for him after his name cropped up in the contract killing.
Delhi Police had placed a bounty of Rs 1 lakh on Pratibhanand.
The accused confessed that back in 2013, when he used to sell ayurvedic medicines at a temple, he had come in contact with lawyer Baljeet Sahrawat, through whom he got in touch with Bhardwaj's younger son Nitesh.
Nitesh and his mother reportedly did not have good relations with Bhardwaj and hired Pratibhanand to eliminate him for Rs 5 crore.
Of this sum, Rs 50 lakh was paid in advance to buy weapons and other items, like vehicles for the assailants.
Pratibhanand got his driver Purshottam Rana and others to eliminate Bhardwaj, who was shot him dead at the 34-acre Nitesh Kunj farmhouse near the toll plaza in Gurugram on March 26, 2013.
Soon after Bhardwaj's death, cops had arrested Nitesh for conspiring to kill his father with the help of contract killers, who too were arrested later.
It was stated that Pratibhanand wanted money to set up his own ashram.
CCTV footage from the farmhouse had captured the men brandishing pistols and sitting in the Skoda car and fleeing.