Namdhari, who was produced in a Delhi court after his arrest on Friday from Uttarakhand’s Udham Singh Nagar district, was remanded in police custody till November 28.
Sources said Namdhari had fired three rounds towards Hardeep and it was after this that his PSO Sachin Tyagi shot at the latter with his 9mm carbine. Which bullets hit Hardeep and which proved fatal is expected to be revealed in the ballistic report. Namdhari’s contention of self-defence apparently doesn’t hold much water as no bullets were found close to where he was at the time of the shootout.
Namdhari’s “involvement” was reportedly revealed by Bhupender Singh Bisht, a protocol officer of Ponty, during interrogation. A close aide of Namdhari, he allegedly told the police Namdhari had been a henchman of Ponty and helped him seize properties.
Bisht was arrested along with Rajpal, Uday and Anand (all of them Ponty’s associates) and booked for trespassing and thrashing Hardeep’s men.
Investigations into the November 17 shootout, sources said, have also revealed that on that day, Namdhari had sent at least 40 men, including Ponty’s aides, to the Chhattarpur farmhouse. They were later split into three groups, one of which was dispatched to the Bijwasan farmhouse to capture the property there.
Based on Bisht’s interrogation, sources said, it seemed the entire plan was devised by Namdhari about two days before the incident. It was decided that his men would capture the farmhouse and that if there was any interruption in their plans, or if anyone from the other side intervened or tried to stop them, they would fire in the air.
Seeking his custody, police said Namdhari was the front man of Ponty Chadha and that they needed to unearth the “deep-rooted conspiracy” behind the shootout. “Many other persons are also involved... Persons having assets of over Rs 1,000 crore are likely to be involved in the conspiracy,” Public Prosecutor Manoj Choudhary said.
While police claimed Namdhari had confessed in his disclosure statement to having fired at Hardeep with his pistol after the latter allegedly pointed a gun at him, he denied the same speaking to TV channels. The charges are “a political conspiracy”, he repeated.
Speaking to reporters as he left the court, Namdhari claimed the shooting was “an accident”. “I just want to say it was an accident and the FIR was lodged by me. I called the police myself,” he asserted.
Police hope to locate the .32 bore pistol allegedly used to shoot at Hardeep as well as the whereabouts of some of Namdhari’s co-accused during Namdhari’s interrogation in custody.
The co-accused are believed to be in hiding in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, including Vimlesh, one of Ponty’s gunners, for whom searches were made in Firozabad. Raids are also being conducted in Etawah in Uttar Pradesh, while teams have been dispatched to Tajpur, Kashipur, Pilibhit, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Hastinapur.
The fact that Namdhari had not disclosed earlier of having shot Hardeep and hidden his gun strengthened the case against him, police believe.