Four persons, including the two alleged shooters, accused in real estate tycoon Deepak Bhardwaj's murder case, were today remanded to three days police custody by a Delhi court after police said it needs their custodial interrogation to unearth the conspiracy.
The two alleged shooters Purushottam Rana and Sunil Mann and Amit, the driver of the car in which the shooters had gone to the farm house of 62-year-old Bhardwaj, a local BSP leader, to kill him on March 26, were produced before the court after expiry of their 10-day police custody remand.
Co-accused Pradeep, who had allegedly supplied the arms to Rana and Mann, was arrested on Thursday and was produced before the court.
Metropolitan Magistrate Prashant Sharma remanded the four accused to police custody till April 15 saying that the matter is under investigation.
"Admittedly, the matter is pending investigation. The places from where co-accused persons have to be traced out are out of Delhi. I have gone through the case diaries and disclosure statements of the accused persons. The said record is signed by me.
"Keeping in mind the record placed before me, the accused persons who are present before me are sent to police custody for three days till April 15," the magistrate said.
Seeking extension of police custody of Rana, Mann and Amit, prosecutor Kamal Akhtar said that Rana in his disclosure statement has said that he can got alleged godman Pratibhanand, who is still absconding, from Delhi, Mathura and Haridwar.
Regarding Mann and Amit, the prosecutor said they were part of the conspiracy and Amit had gone to meet co-accused Pradeep after the commission of the crime.
The prosecutor said Pradeep had provided the country-made pistol to Rana and Mann and he had also recced the farm house at Rajokri in south Delhi where the crime took place.
Police said Pradeep had procured the weapons from one Manoj, who is a resident of Uttarakhand, and he could lead the investigators to the arms' supplier.
The investigating officer said that Rana, Mann went to meet Swami Pratibhanand before the crime and the conspiracy was hatched at Amit's residence.
The prosecutor also told the court that these three accused had got recovered the weapons used in the crime from a canal and police has conducted raids at various places in Nasik, Mumbai and Ahmed Nagar for arresting Pratibhanand.
He also said that more raids are to be conducted at Solan in Himachal Pradesh and Rishikesh in Uttarakhand in order to arrest the godman.
He also said that all the accused persons have to be confronted for unearthing the entire conspiracy.
Opposing the police custody remand, advocate J P Singh, who appeared for Rana, Mann and Amit, said that the police is trying to trace out Pratibhanand but Mann and Amit are nowhere linked with Swami.
Advocate Kapil Dhaka, who appeared for Pradeep, claimed that his client was in illegal detention since March 28 and the four days police custody remand was not justifiable.
According to the sources, the police has got issued non-bailable warrants against Pratibhanand.
Mann and Rana were arrested on April 1 amid high drama when they had come to Patiala House Court to surrender.
While Rana was apprehended by the police just before he was to enter the premises, Mann had managed to evade the waiting police and had entered a court room but the judge refused to hear the matter and handed him over to Delhi Police Crime Branch officials, who were present there.
The court had remanded Rakesh, owner of the car used in the commission of the crime, to judicial custody till April 25 after the police had said it does not require him for custodial interrogation. He was the first person to be arrested in the case.
The police had on April 9 arrested Bhardwaj's younger son Nitesh and lawyer Baljeet Singh Shehrawat and they are presently in police custody till April 16.
Nitesh and Sehrawat were arrested, two weeks after Bhardwaj was shot dead in the farmhouse, which is named after Nitesh, in south Delhi's Rajokri allegedly by Rana and Mann who are already under arrest.
Police has alleged that Nitesh, 31, had given a Rs five crore contract to Shehrawat, 51, who in turn had entrusted the job to Pratibhanand.
It had said that while Nitesh wanted to avenge the insult heaped on him by his father by not allowing him to enter the farmhouse and making clear his intention not to give a proper share of property, the lawyer wanted funding for contesting election.
It said Nitesh was peeved at his father, the richest candidate in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections with declared assets of over Rs 600 crore, who lived separately after problems arose in the family some years ago.