New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) Nitesh, the younger son of slain BSP leader Deepak Bhardwaj, conspired to eliminate his father six months ago, police said Tuesday.
Nitesh hatched the conspiracy after his father threatened to prevent him from entering the south Delhi farmhouse following a dispute between them. Deepak Bhardwaj was shot dead in the same farmhouse, ‘The Nitesh’, ironically named after his son.
“The exact reason behind the killing is yet to come out. But Nitesh was stressed over the threat by his father,” said a police officer.
Nitesh told his aide, advocate-cum-property dealer Baljeet Singh Sehrawat that he wanted to kill his father. Sehrawat also was with Nitesh in a few property dealings, said the officer.
Sehrawat was in need of money as he wanted to contest in the next assembly elections from south Delhi’s Mahipalpur constituency.
“Sehrawat had told Nitesh that he would contest the assembly elections from Delhi’s Mahipalpur seat. Initially, he asked Nitesh to bear his expenses for the polls, but later asked for Rs.5 crore,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Chhaya Sharma.
Police said Sehrawat then approached Swami Pratibhanand, a resident of Beed in Maharashtra, who was in Haryana’s Jhajjar city.
Sehrawat offered Pratibhanand Rs.2 crore and Rs.1 crore for the contract killers.
Pratibhanand, who needed money to build an ashram, accepted the deal.
“In January, the deal was finalised among Nitesh, Sehrawat and Pratibhanand,” said Sharma.
A month before Deepak Bhardwaj was shot dead, Pratibhanand hired contract killers Purushottam Rana alias Monu and Sunil Mann alias Sonu.
Nitesh had given an advance of Rs.50 lakh to Sehrawat. The remaining amount was to be given after the murder.
Sehrawat gave Rs.3.50 lakh to Pratibhanand and Rs.2 lakh to the killers to execute the plan.
Police have not ruled out the involvement of other family members in the murder. Investigators have also questioned Deepak Bharadwaj’s wife Ramesh Kumari and elder son Hitesh.
According to Sharma, Nitesh was changing his statements regularly.
“Just after the killing, he broke his mobile phone and SIM card with which he was in contact with Sehrawat and Pratibhanand,” said an investigating officer.
Police said that Nitesh had been their prime suspect since the day of the killing. Following Sehrawat’s detention, police confronted the duo, which led to the revelation of the conspiracy.
Police examined the call data records of Nitesh, Sehrawat and Pratibhanand, which revealed that they had been in contact since January.
Police have now launched a manhunt to nab Pratibhanand.