Deepak Bhardwaj murder: Lawyer who nursed old grudge against Bhardwaj became the go-betweenhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/delhi/deepak-bhardwaj-murder-lawyer-who-nursed-old-grudge-against-bhardwaj-became-the-gobetween/

Deepak Bhardwaj murder: Lawyer who nursed old grudge against Bhardwaj became the go-between

Sources in the police said the conspiracy to kill Bhardwaj was hatched after they had this conversation.

Baljeet Singh Sehrawat,a 51-year-old lawyer and property dealer from Najafgarh,had helped BSP leader Deepak Bhardwaj with a disputed property deal in October last year. When he asked Bhardwaj for a commission and legal expenses,Bhardwaj refused to pay him,a police source said.

Sehrawat discussed this with Nitesh,Bhardwaj’s younger son,who told him that he too was frustrated with his father and wanted to get rid of him. Sources in the police said the conspiracy to kill Bhardwaj was hatched after they had this conversation.

Nitesh had started a small firm dealing in property with an office in Vasant Kunj. After he opened this firm,Nitesh contacted Sehrawat for property deals. According to the police source,Sehrawat helped Nitesh with the legalities of disputed properties and the two became close.

After one such deal,Sehrawat owed Nitesh Rs 7 lakh. Nitesh insisted that the money be returned.

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“Nitesh pestered Sehrawat to return Rs 7 lakh. Sehrawat asked Nitesh why he needed the money desperately,despite being the son of a rich man. Nitesh told him that because of his father,he was leading a hand-to-mouth existence,and was often humiliated by Bhardwaj,who sometimes threatened the family publicly,at gunpoint ,” the police source said,after questioning both Sehrawat and Nitesh.

Sehrawat told Nitesh that he wanted to contest elections from the Mahipalpur Assembly seat and wanted him to sponsor it. In return,police said,he told Nitesh he would kill Bhardwaj. Nitesh agreed.

But the deal changed in January,and Nitesh instead offered Sehrawat Rs 5 crore for the murder. Sehrawat accepted the offer and took Rs 50 lakh as advance money. He felt that this was the perfect opportunity to strike.

According to police,Sehrawat knew Swami Pratibhanand was hoping to buy an ashram. He first met Pratibhanand when the latter came to Delhi in 2006. Sehrawat also knew Pratibhanand had usurped a prime property in Vasant Kunj.

Police said Sehrawat is more a property dealer than a lawyer. He helped Pratibhanand earn money through disputed properties and the latter would often meet Sehrawat with papers of these.

So,Sehrawat struck a deal with Pratibhanand and promised him Rs 2 crore for the murder. It was then that Pratibhanand hired Purushottam Rana and Sunil Mann to kill Bhardwaj.

Sources said Pratibhanand met Nitesh only once when Sehrawat took him to the family’s school in Dwarka. At that time,Nitesh did not mention the plan. Sehrawat held several meetings with Pratibhanand and the two hatched a conspiracy. Sources said Pratibhanand stayed at Sehrawat’s house for 15-20 days.

From their inquiries in Haryana,Haridwar,Allahabad and Solan and questioning of Pratibhanand’s acquaintances and disciples,police have learnt that the guru needed money to purchase property for an ashram.

Until 18 months ago,Pratibhanand had been living at the Hindu Mahasabha premises. He had taken over two rooms but was unable to pay the room rent and was eventually evicted.

According to police,Pratibhanand travelled to Varanasi,Haridwar,Karnal and Solan in search of property for an ashram. He told several people that he was willing to take over an ashram even if it was dilapidated and old. He was told that if he wished to purchase property,he would have to spend at least Rs 1.5 crore.

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Prathibhanand has been on the run ever since Bhardwaj’s murder. He has been sighted in Karnataka and Patna in Bihar,police sources said.