New Delhi: In a fresh twist in the shootout case involving liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his younger brother Hardeep, a Delhi court has dropped murder charge against all 21 accused including sacked Uttarakhand minorities panel chief Sukhdev Singh Namdhari.
The court, however, added offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the alleged main conspirator Namdhari and his Personal Security Officer Sachin Tyagi. It entails maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
The sessions court gave elaborate reasons for dropping 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".
"Appearance of Hardeep Singh at the scene was sudden and unexpected, it was he who had fired at the injured Narender Ahlawat (Ponty`s manager, who is also an accused in the case) and also pumped in several bullets into elder brother Gurdeep Singh Chadha (Ponty).
"Thereafter Namdhari and Sachin used their fire arms and shot Hardeep which resulted in his death... Thus, these acts bring in the culpable homicide by Namdhari and Sachin, within domain of exception 4 of section 300 of the IPC," Additional Sessions Judge Vimal Kumar Yadav said while ordering framing of charges against the accused persons.
The charges will be framed formally against all the 21 accused tomorrow.
The remaining 19 accused were charged under attempt to murder in connection with the incident.
Besides attempt to murder, the court has also ordered framing of various charges against them under provisions of IPC, including dacoity, rioting with deadly weapons, house trespass, illegal confinement, kidnapping, causing grievous harm and destruction of evidence.