New Delhi, Feb 15: A court here Saturday fixed, for March 28, for commencement of the trial against Uttarakhand minorities panel’s sacked chairman S.S. Namdhari and other accused involved in the killing of liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep.
Additional Sessions Judge Vimal Kumar Yadav, framing charges against all the 21 accused in the case, listed the recording of the statement of prosecution witnesses for March 28.
The court had earlier dropped murder charges against all the 21 accused saying that the Nov 17, 2012, shootout that resulted in the killing of Ponty and Hardeep “seems to be an event which happened suddenly and unexpectedly”.
However, it added charges related to culpable homicide not amounting to murder against Namdhari and his Personal Security Officer Sachin Tyagi, which entails the maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
The remaining 19 accused were charged under attempt to murder in connection with the incident.
The court also framed charges against them under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, including dacoity, rioting with deadly weapons, house trespass, illegal confinement, kidnapping, causing grievous harm and destruction of evidence.
The court, framing the charges against the accused, said: “Appearance of Hardeep Singh at the scene was sudden and unexpected, it was he who had fired at the injured Narender Ahlawat (Ponty’s manager, who is also an accused in the case) and also pumped in several bullets into elder brother Gurdeep Singh Chadha (Ponty).”
“Thereafter Namdhari and Sachin used their fire rms and shot Hardeep which resulted in his death… Thus, these acts bring in the culpable homicide by Namdhari and Sachin, within domain of exception 4 of section 300 of the IPC,” the court added.
Ponty Chadha and his brother were killed at a farmhouse in Chhattarpur in south Delhi in a shootout Nov 17, 2012, allegedly over a property dispute.
Delhi Police had filed two charge sheets in the case and levelled murder charges against 21 accused. Ponty and Hardeep were also charge sheeted in the case, but the trial against the brothers has been abated as they both died in the shootout.