New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday reserved its verdict on a revision petition of Delhi Police against dropping of murder charges against 21 accused by a trial court in the case relating to the 2012 shootout in which liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep were killed.
A bench of Justice S P Garg reserved its verdict after hearing the arguments.
Sacked Uttarakhand minorities panel chief Sukhdev Singh Namdhari and 20 others are accused in the case against whom a trial court had dropped murder charges on January 15 last year.
Namdhari had on September 4 last year told the high court that the lower court had rightly dropped the murder charge levelled against him and 20 others in the case.
His counsel had said that the finding of the trial court was fair enough and cannot be challenged as the allegations levelled against Namdhari were meant to defame him.
The court had on July 8 issued a notice to Namdhari and others accused on the revision petition of Delhi Police.
Police had assailed the trial court order to drop murder charge against the accused who were connected to Ponty and Hardeep and allegedly fired at each other in connection with a property dispute between the brothers.
Namdhari had maintained before the trial court that he was innocent and had not opened fire at Hardeep.
The trial court had, however, added charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the alleged main conspirator Namdhari and his personal security officer Sachin Tyagi, which entails maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
Ponty and Hardeep, who allegedly had a property dispute, were killed in a shootout at a Chhattarpur farmhouse here on November 17, 2012.
Ponty and Hardeep were also named in the charge sheet in the case. However, the trial against them has abated as they were killed in the shootout.
The lower court had given elaborate reasons for dropping the murder charge and invoking the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against Namdhari and Sachin.
It had said that the November 17, 2012 shootout that resulted in the killing of Ponty and Hardeep "seems to be an event which happened suddenly and unexpectedly".
The trial court had framed attempt to murder charge against the remaining 19 accused, excluding Namdhari and Sachin, in the case.
Besides attempt to murder, the court had also framed charges against them under various provisions, including dacoity, rioting with deadly weapons, house trespass, illegal confinement, kidnapping, causing grievous harm and destruction of evidence of IPC.
It had also framed charges for offences including criminal conspiracy, common intention and those under the Arms Act against all the 21 accused, for trying to take over the disputed farmhouse from the possession of Hardeep.
Delhi Police had filed two charge sheets in the case and levelled murder charge against all the 21 accused.
The first charge sheet had named Ponty as an accused as he had reached the place of the incident with Namdhari and others as part of his "well-hatched conspiracy" to take possession of the south Delhi farm house.
The supplementary charge sheet had accused Hardeep in the case, saying the probe has shown Ponty was killed by the shot fired at him by his brother.