NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court has sought Delhi Police's reply on the bail plea of sacked Uttarakhand minorities panel chief Sukhdev Singh Namdhari, who along with 20 others is facing a murder trial in a 2012 shootout here that claimed the lives of liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his younger brother Hardeep.
Justice P S Teji also asked the police to file their status report on Namdhari's plea which said he was "no more required by investigating agency and no purpose would be served while keeping him in jail with hardened criminals".
The trial court in July last year had framed charges under section 302 (murder) read with section 149 (offence committed by member of unlawful assembly) of the IPC against all the 21 accused including Namdhari and his Personal Security Officer (PSO) Sachin Tyagi.
Namdhari, however, in his bail plea claimed he was innocent and the complainant of the case on whose statement an FIR was lodged has not supported the police theory that he was part of the conspiracy in which the two brothers died.
He said the FIR did not contain his name and neither did the complainant mention his role in the incident. The application also said he had never misused any of the condition imposed on him during an interim bail granted on earlier occasions. Currently, he is on interim bail which is to end on March 18.
"The rule is to allow bail rather to refuse the same. The bail ought not to be held as punishment, since the law presumes an accused to be innocent till the guilt is proved," Namdhari said in his plea filed through advocate R S Malik.
Ponty and Hardeep, who were allegedly involved in a property dispute, were killed in a shootout at a Chhattarpur farmhouse here on November 17, 2012. Subsequently Namdhari was arrested on November 23, 2012. Later, the remaining accused were apprehended.
Namdhari in his bail application also claimed that there was no "premeditation" for shooting at Hardeep. "The provocation came from the side of Hardeep, as he started firing indiscriminately at Ponty and his PSO fired the alleged shot in self defence...
"There was no reason or occasion for him to be part of the conspiracy, as he and his PSO had no interest in the properties of the deceased brother. They were not to be benefited in any manner and had thus no reason to be part of such conspiracy," the accused's counsel contended.
On January 28, 2014, the trial court had dropped murder charges against all the accused and added the charge of culpable homicide not amounting murder under section 304 of IPC against the alleged main conspirator Namdhari and his Personal Security Officer Sachin Tyagi.
On May 15 last year, on the plea of police, Delhi High Court had overturned the trial court's decision and directed framing of murder charges against all the 21 accused. Ponty and Hardeep were also charge sheeted in the case.
However, the trial against them had abated as they were killed in the shootout. The court had ordered framing 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.
Delhi Police had filed two charge sheets in the case and levelled murder charges against all the 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 had shown Ponty was killed by the shot fired at him by his brother.