Sep 16, 2017

Guru involved in BSP leader’s killing arrested in Ghaziabad

Baba Pratibhanand
Baba Pratibhanand
Baba Pratibhanand was arrested in a railway station
Gulf News
September 16, 2017

Ghaziabad: A self-styled spiritual guru allegedly involved in the 2013 murder of BSP leader Deepak Bhardwaj was arrested in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district after eluding police for four years, police said on Saturday.

Machhendra Nath alias Baba Pratibhanand, on whose head Delhi Police had placed a Rs100,000 bounty, was arrested from the railway station here on Friday night by a team led by Superintendent of Police, City, Akash Tomar, SSP Ghaziabad HN Singh said at a press conference here.

Police swooped in on Pratibhanand, a resident of Maharashtra’s Beed, on a tip-off.

A .32 bore pistol and cartridges were seized from Pratibhanand, who confessed to his crime during interrogation.

Pratibhanand confessed that while selling Ayurvedic medicines in a temple, he had come in contact with lawyer Baljeet Sahrawat, through whom he met Bhardwaj’s younger son Nitesh. Nitesh and his mother did not have good relations with Bhardwaj and hired Pratibhanand to kill him for Rs50 million.

Out of this, Rs5 million was paid in advance to buy weapons and other items like vehicles for the assailants. Pratibhanand got his driver Purshottam Rana and others to kill Bhardwaj, who was shot dead at his 34-acre Nitesh Kunj farmhouse near the toll plaza in Gurugram on March 26, 2013.

Since then, Pratibhanand has been on the run, travelling through Haryana, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, said the SSP.

He also told police that he had agreed to get Bhardwaj murdered so he could have enough money to establish an ashram in Haridwar.

Bhardwaj, who had contested the Lok Sabha election on a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) ticket in 2009, was the richest candidate in Delhi, having declared assets worth Rs6 billion.

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