New Delhi/Dehradun, Nov 23: Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, an eyewitness to the Nov 17 shootout at a farmhouse here where liquor baron Ponty Chaddha and brother Hardeep were killed, was Friday arrested from his farmhouse in Uttarakhand.
“Namdhari was arrested on charges of trespassing but we can’t rule out whether he was involved in the murder case as well,” Chhaya Sharma, deputy commissioner of police, Delhi Police, told reporters here Friday.
“We had sent a team to Uttarakhand yesterday (Thursday) following a tip off and Namdhari was arrested there,” said Sharma.
Namdhari had gone missing from New Delhi after lodging a first information report (FIR) following the shootout at Chhattarpur. Namdhari was present at the spot when the crimes took place.
Namdhari was sacked as chairman of the Uttarakhand Minority Commission after the shootout. He has more than three dozen cases against him, which include murder, attempt to murder, dacoity and several others.
Asked whether Namdhari remained a suspect in the shooting incident, Sharma said: “As of today, everybody is a suspect. We are not into giving any clean chit to anybody. It is the job of court.”
“All the suspects connected to the case are under the scanner for trespassing as well as the murders,” Sharma said.
Delhi Police have arrested seven people in connection with the case so far.
The two brothers were killed in a gun−battle at farmhouse number 42. Ponty Chadha had gone to there with Namdhari and his personal security officer (PSO) Sachin Tyagi.
“Hardeep was not accompanied by his PSO during the incident. They came later,” Sharma said.
Delhi Police had Thursday claimed that Namdhari’s men could have aided the liquor baron in taking control of the disputed farmhouse hours before the killings.
Sharma said Hardeep Chadha had a meeting with his staff around 9.30 a.m. at the farmhouse before he went to Noida.
He returned to Chattarpur after hearing about Ponty Chadha taking over the farmhouse.
Sharma said Hardeep was found dead in the guard room and there was no blood traces outside.
“This raises suspicion whether Hardeep was chased and shot. There are a lot of scientific evidences. We have recovered Chadha brothers post−mortem report but cannot come to a conclusion till we get forensic and ballistic reports,” said Sharma.
When asked about the PSOs of Chadha brothers, the officer said Ponty Chadha’s PSOs were not there while Hardeep Chadha’s PSOs reached the spot late.
After his arrest at his farmhouse in Bajpur in Udham Singh Nagar, Namdhari said he had already told police what he had seen on the fateful day.
“I had known Ponty Chaddha since 1994 and I was with him when the incident took place. I took him to hospital and also lodged an FIR,” he told reporters.
He said he had left his cellphone numbers with Delhi Police and came to Uttarakhand after police allowed him to leave.
“They (Delhi Police) told me to go and said they would call me when I was required,” he added.
He said he switched off his phone for two days as he was being hounded by mediapersons for statements.
His PSO Sachin Tyagi is alleged to have shot Hardeep Chadha after he opened fire at Ponty Chadha.
Namdhari told the police that Hardeep began shooting at them the moment they arrived. He said he slipped out of the rear door of the vehicle and hid behind it.