Billionaire BSP leader’s murder cracked, son arrested (Roundup)

New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Fourteen days after the sensational murder of BSP leader Deepak Bhardwaj, Delhi Police Tuesday arrested his younger son Nitesh for allegedly giving a Rs.5 crore contract to a lawyer to eliminate his estranged business-tycoon father.

Police said it is one of the biggest contract killings in the capital’s history.

Nitesh, 36, was arrested along with an advocate-cum-property dealer Baljeet Singh Sehrawat, 51, for the March 26 murder of Bhardwaj at his sprawling, 35-acre south Delhi farmhouse.

Giving the chain of events, police said Nitesh wanted to eliminate his father, the richest candidate in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections with declared assets of over Rs.600 crore, due to property dispute. The father and son shared strained relationship and it became bitter when the senior Bhardwaj told his younger son six months back not to enter the farmhouse, which was named ‘The Nitesh’.

Nitesh was also peeved about the way his father was planning to share his property, police said.

An angry Nitesh hatched a plot to kill his father in January this year, police said.

Police said Sehrawat became part of the plan as he had political ambitions and wanted Nitesh to fund his election campaign in the upcoming Delhi assembly elections from Mahipalpur constituency in south Delhi.

But, later Sehrawat changed his mind about Nitesh funding his poll campaign, and agreed on Rs.5 crore for carrying out the killing, police said.

The deal was stuck.

Sehrawat then contacted godman Swami Pratibhanand, who is also known as Machhinder Nath.

Police said the godman wanted money to buy a plot to build an ashram and agreed to be part of the conspiracy for Rs.2 crore.

Later, the godman contacted his long-time disciple and driver Purushottam Rana, also known as Monu, and introduced him to Sehrawat, who promised to give Rs 1 crore for the killing. Rana took the help of his associates Sunil Mann also known as Sonu and Amit.

Police said Nitesh gave a token amount of Rs.50 lakh to Sehrawat, who gave Rs.3.5 lakh to Rs.4 lakh to the godman. Pratibhanand then gave Rs.200,000 to Rana for buying car, weapon and ammunition.

While Rana and Mann entered the farmhouse and gunned down the billionaire, meeting him on the pretext of booking the place for a function, Amit drove the getaway car.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police Chhaya Sharma: “Nitesh had given Rs.5 crore contract to the lawyer and gave him an advance of Rs.50 lakh. The remaining amount was to be paid after the murder.”

Police have so far arrested six people for the murder and are looking for the godman, who police said has shifted seven locations across over seven states.

The first arrest was made March 31 when police held Rakesh, who was the owner of the Skoda car which was used to ferry the alleged killers. Subsequently, Rana and his associate were arrested April 1 from near a city court where they were planning to surrender following the police raids.

It was from the two killers that police were finally able to weave the tale of conspiracy and deceit. They finally nabbed Nitesh and Sehrawat based on their telephone records.

Sharma said Nitesh had divorced his wife and was living with his mother Rakesh Kumari at his flat in Dwaraka Sector 11 after his fight with his father. His wife was a relative of Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan.

Nitesh was detained Sunday and was formally arrested Tuesday afternoon.

“Nitesh confessed that he was leading a difficult life in the absence of adequate support from Bhardwaj,” Sharma told reporters at a packed press conference.

Two country-made pistols used in the crime have also been recovered.

Police have recovered three cars – a Skoda, Santro and a Swift – and around Rs.30 lakh from the lawyer.

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