New Delhi: A Delhi court on Sunday extended till December 5 the police remand of sacked Uttarakhand minority panel chief Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, booked on murder charges in liquor baron Ponty Chadha shootout case.

Extending Namdhari's police custody by three more days, Metropolitan Magistrate Sunil Beniwal observed that five more co-accused, who have altered and cleaned the pistol used in the incident, have to be arrested, for which the accused has shown willingness to make their arrest possible.

"The matter is under investigation and more co-accused including those who have altered and cleaned the pistol have to be arrested in the present case. The accused has assured the police that he would accompany them to make their arrest possible, therefore, he is remanded in police custody till December 5," Beniwal said.

Namdhari, who has been in police custody since his arrest, was produced before the court after his three days' police remanded expired on Sunday.

Seeking his custodial interrogation for five more days, the Crime Branch of Delhi Police told the court that all the five accused involved in the crime have to be arrested and the vehicles used in the crime seized.

The probe agency also told the court that the accused himself has confessed that he will accompany the investigating officer (IO) to get arrested the other accused involved in the crime as they are absconding from their present place of stay.

Namdhari was arrested in connection with the November 17 shootout in a farmhouse here, in which Ponty and his brother Hardeep had lost their lives.

Namdhari's counsel R S Malik opposed the remand plea of police asking as to what his client had to do with the arrest of the co-accused. The same ground was taken by the agency on earlier occasions too, he said.

Malik also argued before the court that the investigating agency is extorting Namdhari's confessional statement and even fabricating statements of eye witnesses in the case.

He said, "There is no sufficient ground to extend his client's custody and he should be sent to judicial custody." In its remand plea, the police said, "From the investigations conducted so far, it has been established that accused (Namdhari) has played a vital role in the conspiracy with the other co-accused who acted on his instructions.

"On interrogation of the accused and examining the witnesses it had been found that on the behest of the accused, co-accused armed with fire arms and other deadly weapons forcefully entered and took possession of the farmhouse at Chhattarpur," as per the remand application.

Police also said that during the police remand, "Namdhari led the police party to hideouts of some of the accused in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh. All these persons are absconding and evading arrest."

According to police, Namdhari has disclosed that his associates Hardayal Singh, Simranjeet Singh, Jasbir Singh, Balkar Singh and Baaj Singh have fled.

The agency, however, said his other associates Satnam Singh and Balwinder Singh were presently in custody and added that the person who altered and cleaned the pistol has to be arrested from his hideout in Punjab at his instance. Earlier, police told the court they have added murder charges against Namdhari as the casings of two bullets fired at Hardeep from his pistol were missing from the spot.

They told the court that the bullet casings could have been taken away by the accused from the spot. The police also told the court that the statement of the eyewitnesses recorded during investigation is also an evident proof for his arrest and booking under section 302 of IPC.

Gurdeep alias Ponty and Hardeep, who had a property dispute, were killed in a shootout at their Chhatarpur farmhouse on November 17 afternoon after which police arrested altogether nine people in various criminal cases, linked to the shootout incident allegedly between the two brothers.

All of them have been charged with offences of criminal conspiracy, attempt to murder, dacoity, assault, trespass, illegal confinement and kidnapping. The police, however, has booked Namdhari under murder charges.


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