‘Namdhari booked for Hardeep’s murder’

Sacked Uttarakahnd minority panel chief Sukhdev Singh Namdhari has been booked on charges of murdering Harddeep Singh, liquor baron Ponty Chadha’s brother, the Delhi police told a court on Thursday, which extended the police custody of the politico by three more days.

Metropolitan Magistrate Gaurav extended Namdhari’s police custody till 2 December saying the crime branch has to unearth the conspiracy behind the 17 November shootout, in which Ponty and his brother Hardeep had lost their lives.

‘I am satisfied that to unearth the entire conspiracy and to prepare the sequence of crime... it is a fit case for grant of three days of police custody,’ said the court.

Namdhari was produced before the court after expiry of his five-day police remand.

Seeking his custodial interrogation for five more days, the crime branch of Delhi police told the court that they have added murder charges against him as the casings of two bullets fired at Hardeep from his pistol were missing from the spot.

They told the court that the bullet casings could have been taken away by the accused from the spot.

The police also told the court that the eyewitness statement recorded during investigation is also evident proof for his arrest and booking under section 302 of IPC.

The court, meanwhile, sent six others arrested for allegedly trespassing into and looting the disputed Chhattarpur farmhouse of Chadha’s family to 14 days of judicial custody.

The Police sought extension of Namdhari’s custody for recovery of various weapons used in the shootout.

‘We have to also recover the remaining weapons used in the crime, which are likely to be hidden at his farmhouse,’ the police told the court.

The vehicle has not yet been recovered and his alleged associates present at the site are also absconding, it said adding they do not require further custody of the six others arrested in the trespass case and they can be remanded to judicial custody.

Opposing the plea for extension of Namdhari’s police custody, his counsel R S Malik said it was not required as the alleged weapon used for firing has already been recovered.

The counsel also said earlier his custody was sought to recreate the scene of the crime where shootout took place which they have already done.

‘I (Namdhari) am in their custody for last six days. What more do they want to recover?,’ Malik said.

He also alleged that the Crime Branch was harassing his client and his relatives by visiting their house on pretext of probe into the case.

The counsel for other six accused, K K Manan, meanwhile, argued that his client Satnam Singh, an accused in the trespass case, had been illegally detained since the alleged shootout.

‘They are playing with the law as the police falsely showed his arrest only last night,’ he said. He said the police had wrongly told the press that Namdhari was absconding, while, in reality, he was visiting Mehrauli police station as and when he was called upon.

Manan told the court that a direction be given for preserving the CCTV footage to ascertain whether Namdhari used to visit Mehrauli police station between 17 November and 20 November.

The court allowed the counsel’s plea and ordered for preservation of the CCTV footage.
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