New Delhi: The desire to set up an 'ashram' of his own prompted the self-styled guru to take up the contract to kill local BSP leader Deepak Bhardwaj last month, police sources claimed on Monday.
Bhardwaj was shot dead on March 26 in his farmhouse in South Delhi's Rajokri and four persons, including two shooters, were arrested. Swami Pratimanand, the self-styled guru, who is allegedly involved in the killing is on the run.
Sources said Pratimanand, who was thrown out from some ashrams, wanted to open one of his own as he wanted to establish himself. For this he needed money and for the past 18 months, he was on the lookout for plots in Haridwar, Karnal and Solan.
Sources said he had to raise Rs 1.5 crore to open the ashram and this led to his alleged involvement in the murder of Bhardwaj, the richest candidate in the 2009 elections. "Someone gave him the contract. He used his driver Purushottam, who was arrested, and his friends to murder Bhardwaj," a senior police official said.
Sources said he had gone to the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad and had met several priests. He located one Ashram which he wanted to buy. According to sources, Pratimanand was getting a share of Rs two crore for the murder and the total amount of contract was more than Rs four crore.
The plan to kill Bhardwaj was hatched over a period of six months allegedly by  Pratimanand and the main conspirator, whose identity is yet to be established, they said. "They apparently did not want to kill Bhardwaj in the farmhouse in Nitesh Kunj. The gang targeted Bhardwaj twice between January and March," the official said.
Police said they are yet to give a clean chit to the family, who were living separately. Investigators had on Saturday released photographs of Pratimanand and asked the victim's estranged family not to leave the capital as they still remain under the lens.


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