4 Ponty men held, police say gunfight lasted 20 minutes

Tuesday

Police said when the team reached the spot Hardeep's body was on the ground, with two pistols. Six men, including his driver and three Punjab policemen, were there and two cars were parked nearby — a Scorpio and a Mercedes. Police were told that one person was taken to Fortis Hospital.

He was later identified as Ponty.

Police did not comment on whether the shootout could be averted if the response to the first call — made at 11.50 am — had been better. "The PCR was informed about a scuffle and there was no mention of a firing incident in the call," an officer said.

A team of five doctors from AIIMS visited the Chhattarpur farmhouse to verify their findings of autopsies. They examined six bullet holes at the farmhouse with the help of police officers, who attempted to reconstruct the shootout.

The account of eyewitnesses will be corroborated with the CCTV footage of the farm, police said. The weapons recovered from the spot have been sent for scrutiny and autopsy reports are awaited.

'Integrity doubtful', Namdhari sacked

Sukhdev Singh Namdhari was removed from the post of chairman of Uttarakhand Minorities Commission on Tuesday. The state government asked him to step down in the wake of the shootout at Ponty Chadha's Chhattarpur farmhouse, to which Namdhari was an eyewitness. His securityman, Sachin Tyagi, had also opened fire during the shootout.

Uttarakhand government said Namdhari was removed in "public interest" after his integrity was found "questionable/doubtful".

"The chairman of Uttarakhand Minorities Commission Sukhdev Singh Namdhari has been removed from his post with immediate effect in public interest after his integrity became/found questionable/ doubtful)," said a release issued in the name of Secretary of the Minority (Welfare), M H Khan, by the state's PR department on Tuesday.

... contd.

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