New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has dismissed the bail plea of two accused in 2012 shootout case allegedly involving liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his younger brother Hardeep at a farmhouse here, saying if they are given the relief they may tamper with the evidence.
Justice Veena Birbal rejected the bail application filed by accused Hardayal Singh and Baaj Singh, who are facing trial along with 19 others, including sacked Uttarakhand minorities panel chief Sukhdev Singh Namdhari and his PSO Sachin Tyagi.
"Prima facie, there are serious allegations against both the petitioners (Hardayal and Baaj). As per allegations, at the time of the incident, they were present with deadly weapons like swords, lathis, hockey sticks, etc. The investigation has revealed that they are henchmen of Sukhdev Singh Namdhari...
"The charge has already been framed against them... They have also been charged separately under Section 147(rioting) /148(rioting, armed with a deadly weapon)/149 (if any offence be committed by any member of an unlawful assembly, every other member of such assembly shall be guilty of the offence) and 452 (house-trespass) of IPC," the court said.
"There is prima facie evidence on record in the form of call detail records pointing out that the petitioners were involved in the conspiracy and also their presence at the spot. The case is at the threshold. The public witnesses are yet to be examined. The chances of tampering with prosecution evidence cannot be ruled out. Further, the offence is also heinous," it said, adding the "it is not a fit case for bail".
Initially, the police had booked all the 21 accused under the charge of murder of the brothers. However, the trial court had dropped that charge against them.
The trial court had added the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the alleged main conspirator Namdhari and Sachin. It 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.
The trial court is now recording the statement of prosecution witnesses.
The sessions court gave elaborate reasons for dropping
the murder charge and invoking culpable homicide not amounting to murder against Namdhari and Sachin.
It said the November 17, 2012 shootout that resulted in the killing of Ponty and Hardeep "seems to be an event which happened suddenly and unexpectedly".
Meanwhile, the remaining 19 accused were charged with attempt to murder in connection with the incident.
Besides attempt to murder, the court had framed charges against them under provisions of the IPC, including dacoity, rioting with deadly weapons, house trespass, illegal confinement, kidnapping, causing grievous harm and destruction of evidence.
Ponty and Hardeep were also charge sheeted in the case. However, the trial against them has abated as they were killed in the shootout.
The court had also framed charges of 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.
The 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.