Ponty Chadha killing: HC orders framing of murder charge against all 21 accused

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New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Friday directed framing of murder charges against all 21 accused involved in the killing of liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep.

Justice S.P. Garg, allowing the police plea against trial court’s order of dropping of murder charges against accused, asked the trial court to add murder charges against Uttarakhand minorities panel’s sacked chairman S.S. Namdhari, his PSO Sachin Tyagi and 19 others in the case.

The judge said: “In my considered view, prima facie there was ample material to proceed against respondents no.7 and 8 (Namdhari and Tyagi) under section 302 (murder)/34 (common intention) of IPC.”

“The other respondents were also prima facie equally liable for the said acts of respondents no.7 and 8 with the aid of section 149 (unlawful assembly) of IPC,” it added.

The trial court had dropped murder charges against all the accused, saying that the November 17, 2012 shootout that resulted in the killing of Ponty and Hardeep “seems to be an event which happened suddenly and unexpectedly” and had added charges related to culpable homicide not amounting to murder against Namdhari and Tyagi. The remaining 19 accused were charged under attempt to murder in connection with the incident.

The high court, however, held that it was “not a case of trespass”. “It was a pre-planned well thought conspiracy or else there was no occasion for Ponty to direct Namdhari and accused Narender Ahlawat to mobilise resources to achieve the object,” Justice Garg said in the judgement.

Ponty Chadha and his brother were killed at a farmhouse in Chhattarpur in south Delhi in a shootout on November 17, 2012, allegedly over a property dispute.

Delhi Police had filed two charge sheets in the case and levelled murder charges against 21 accused. Ponty and Hardeep were also charge sheeted in the case, but the trial against the brothers has been abated as they both died in the shootout.