Investigators recovered two pistols, which were used by the contract killers for murdering the 61-year-old at his farmhouse in south Delhi, from a canal in Rohtak on Monday.
According to police sources, a "complex web of conspirators" including a self-styled godman Swami Pratimanand were behind Deepak Bhardwaj's murder. Investigators suspect that Nitesh, a close relative of Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, could have ordered the killing over a property dispute with the real estate tycoon who was the richest candidate in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections.
At that time, Deepak Bhardwaj declared assets worth Rs 600 crore but police said that by now his wealth had increased several fold. Investigators said Swami Pratimanand's "desire to set up an ashram of his own" prompted him to "take up the contract to kill Bhardwaj".
However, the self- styled guru is absconding. Investigators have found that the murder of Bhardwaj was planned six months ago. Pratimanand needed money to open an ashram. For the last one and a half years, he was looking for the required land in Haridwar and Solan.
"Some one gave him the contract. He used his driver Purushottam, who was arrested, and his friends to murder Bhardwaj," a police officer said.
The self- styled guru made his way met priests in Allahabad during the Kumbh Mela and finalised the ashram he wanted to buy. "Pratimanand was getting a share of Rs two crore for the murder and the total amount of contract was more than Rs four crore," a source said.
"They did not want to kill Bhardwaj in the farmhouse in Nitesh Kunj. The gang targeted Bhardwaj twice between January and March," the official said.
Another conspirator is yet to be named. Incidentally, Nitesh is married to Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan's sister-in-law.