Ponty Chadha case: Namdhari arrested in Uttarakhand



New Delhi/Dehradun: Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, an eyewitness to the shootout at the Chhattarpur farmhouse where liquor baron Ponty Chaddha and his brother Hardeep were killed Nov 17, was Friday arrested from his Bajpur farmhouse in Udham Singh Nagar in Uttarakhand.

"Namdhari was arrested on charges of trespassing but we can't rule out whether he was involved in the murder case as well," Chhaya Sharma, Deputy Commissioner of Police, told reporters here Friday.

Namdhari had gone missing from the capital after lodging the First Information Report (FIR) following the incident.

"All the suspects connected to the case are under the scanner for trespassing as well as the murders," Sharma said.

Delhi Police has arrested seven people in connection with the case so far. The two brothers were killed in a gun battle at farmhouse number 42, in south Delhi's Chhattarpur Nov 17.

Ponty had gone to the farmhouse with Namdhari and his personal security officer (PSO) Sachin Tyagi.

"Hardeep was not accompanied by his PSO during the incident. They came later," Sharma said.

After his arrest, Namdhari said he had already told police what he had seen on the fateful day. "I had known Ponty Chaddha since 1994 and I was with him when the incident took place. I took him to hospital and also lodged an FIR," he said.

He added that he had left his cellphone numbers with Delhi Police and had come to Uttarakhand after police allowed him to leave. "They (Delhi Police) told me to go and said they would call me when I was required," he added.

He said he had switched off his phone for two days as he was being hounded by the media for statements.

Namdhari was sacked as the chairman of the Uttarakhand Minority Commission after the shootout. He has more than three dozen cases against him, which include murder, attempt to murder, dacoity and several others.

His PSO Sachin Tyagi is alleged to have shot Hardeep after he opened fire at Ponty.

Namdhari told the police that Hardeep began shooting at them the moment they arrived. He said he slipped out of the rear door of the vehicle and hid behind it.

PTI