Police say farmhouse row behind killing of Ponty Chadha, brother

Ponty Chadha
Investigators said the killing of liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his younger brother Hardeep was sparked off by the former's attempt to take possession of a south Delhi farmhouse on which they were locked in a dispute. The shooting on Saturday afternoon took place on the road right outside the back gate of farmhouse No. 42 in Chhatarpur, owned by the Chadha family.

The case filed by the police at the Mehrauli police station on the complaint of Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, chairman of the Uttaranchal Minorities Commission who was Ponty's friend and is an eyewitness in the case, has been registered under Section 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and Section 25 of the Arms Act. Hardeep's manager has registered another case, against Ponty's men on charges of tresspassing and murder.

While no one has been arrested so far, PSOs assigned to the men involved in the shootout are being detained by the police.

Namdhari has said in his complaint that Ponty and he had come to the farmhouse at around 12 noon. According to Namdhari, while they were still in the car, Ponty's aide Narender Kumar Ahwalwat got out and went to the gate.

"As the gate was being opened from inside, I saw Hardeep with his men near our car. Hardeep fired at the car and then at Narender, who was hit. Ponty tried to flee, but was shot. I opened the car's door and ducked under the car but Hardeep fired at me also. Two shots were fired in my direction. My security guard fired at Hardeep in retaliation," says Namdhari's complaint.

One of the bullets apparently pierced the bonnet of the Land Cruiser which Ponty was in. A few bullets reportedly fired by Namdhari's PSO Sachin Tyagi also hit the two sides of the wall bordering the main gate.

Ponty suffered 12 bullet wounds while Hardeep took four on his body. Narender, Ponty's guard, was seriously injured and underwent surgery.

A police official said the trigger was Ponty using black ink to erase Hardeep's name from the nameplate outside the farmhouse. "We have already confiscated the weapons. We are waiting for the postmortem report to verify the statement of Namdhari and other statements. It looks like PSOs from the Punjab Police also fired. Their weapons are with us," said a police official.

Sources said it appeared that Ponty was shot by Hardeep's 9 mm pistol while Hardeep was shot by a 9 mm carbine belonging to Tyagi.

On Saturday afternoon, SSP, Chandigarh police headquarters, came to the Mehrauli police station to get details about the Punjab Police personnel who are yet to be given a clean chit in the case.

A team of the Uttarakhand Police has also come to New Delhi to collect details on Namdhari's guard Tyagi. Uttarakhand DGP Satyabrat Bansal said Tyagi had been with Namdhari since 2010. He was confirmed to be carrying a carbine rifle. Uttarkhand police sources said he had fired thrice from the gun during Saturday's shootout. Explaining the Ponty-Namdhari connection, they said the two came in contact about a decade ago and the businessman had entered the mining business in the state through Namdhari.

The three Chadha brothers — Ponty, Hardeep and Rajinder — were jointly managing the Rs 6,000-crore Wave Inc, formerly Chadha Group, which has diverse business interests in fields ranging from distilleries, multiplexes, sugar to paper mills.

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