Ponty killing: Namdhari remanded to 5-day police custody

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SS Namdhari
New Delhi, Nov 24: Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, former chairman of the Uttarakhand minorities commission, has been remanded to five-day police custody in connection with the murders of liquor baron Ponty Chaddha and his brother Hardeep.

Both the brothers were killed during a shootout at their farmhouse in Chattarpur here on Nov 17. Yesterday, Delhi Police picked up Namdhari from his home in Bajpur and interrogated him.

Today, they told a court here that he had conspired with Ponty to evict Hardeep from the Chattarpur farmhouse. Property dispute between the brothers is believed to have triggered the fatal shootout.

According to the police, Namdhari not only accompanied Ponty on the fateful day but he also fired at Hardeep. Namdhari has already been booked for attempt to murder and criminal tresspass.

Police told the court that Namdhari and nearly 30 to 40 associates of Ponty went to the farmhouse on Nov 17. The group confined Hardeep's men to a room and beat them up, police said.

Incidentally, Uttarakhand Inspector General (Law and Order) Ramsingh Meena informed newspersons that Namdhari has been named as accused in several cases in the state.

"From murder to bullying his rivals into submission to establish his monopoly in mining business, there were 14 cases lodged against the former state minority panel chief, who is in custody now," the IG noted.

However, Namdhari's links with infuential politicians meant that stringent action was never taken against him. He was alloted mining leases in 2000 and subsequently dominated the industry in the state.

Namdhari had several times in the past helped Ponty grab land and reportedly threatened many persons. Due to this, the Uttarakhand police thrice received requests to cancel his gun licence.

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