Investigators on Sunday said the killing of liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his younger brother Hardeep was sparked off by the former's alleged attempt to take possession of a south Delhi farmhouse on which they were locked in a dispute over ownership.
Police questioned 15 persons after registering two cases in connection with the killing of Ponty and his younger brother at the farmhouse in Chattarpur. No arrests have yet been made in connection with the incident which was triggered by Ponty's alleged attempt to lock up the farmhouse when his brother was away, a senior police official said.
While one case was registered under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder) and Arms Act on a complaint filed Ponty's friend Uttarkhand minority commission member Sukhdev Namdhari, the other was registered by Hardeep's manager against Ponty's men on charges of tresspassing and murder.
Namdhari had come to the spot with Ponty.
"Hardeep first fired at Ponty and Narender. Then Namdhari's PSO in a bid to save him opened fire at Hardeep. There was then firing from guards from both sides. This is what people whom we have questioned told us," the official said.
Ponty suffered 12 bullet wounds while Hardeep had taken four on his body. Narender, Ponty's guard, was also seriously injured and underwent surgery.
Investigators said they were looking into call records of Ponty, whose real name is Gurdeep, and brother Hardeep to build the exact sequence of events that led to the incident in which guards of both the brothers opened fire.
Initial probe has revealed that Ponty's men had gone to the farmhouse, threw out Hardeep's staff and got the gates locked on Saturday morning, the official said.
Hardeep was not at the farmhouse at the time of the incident and was in a meeting in Noida. It was also alleged that Ponty had allegedly asked his men to paint the nameplate carrying Hardeep's name at the farmhouse entrance.
Before Saturday noon, the official said, Ponty had called Namdhari to take a round of the farmhouse. Hardeep also got to know about Ponty's men taking possession of the farmhouse and he abruptly ended the meeting to rush to the spot, the official said.
Ponty along with the commission member and Hardeep reached the farmhouse almost at the same time. Ponty's men had then opened the gate.
In a fit of rage, the official claimed, Hardeep allegedly opened fire, with bullets first hitting Ponty's guard Narender and then Ponty himself. He also fired at Ponty's SUV with his licenced 9-mm pistol.
Then the guards from both sides opened fire, the official said adding the PSOs given to the brothers by Punjab Police were not involved in the firing.
The official said one of those questioned told police that Sachin Tyagi, the PSO of the Commission member, opened fire in retaliation.
However, investigators said Tyagi, who was one of those questioned, tried to save Sukhdev and in the process, he had to open fire. "He opened fire in self defence and save the protectee," the official said.
"We are questioning people. Call records are also being checked," the official said.
The family of Hardeep could not be contacted for comments. This was the second incident of firing at Chadha's residence. On October 5, gunshots were reported from his house in Uttar Pradesh's Moradabad district.
The three Chadha brothers — Ponty, Hardeep and Rajinder — were jointly managing the Rs6,000-crore Wave Inc, formerly Chadha Group, which has diverse business interests in fields ranging from distilleries, multiplexes, sugar to paper mills.