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New Delhi: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Deepak Bhardwaj, the richest candidate in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls with declared assets of over Rs600 crore, was shot dead Tuesday morning in his South Delhi farmhouse by three men who fled after the incident.

Bhardwaj was gunned down by the trio who entered his farmhouse in Rajokri at 8:55am on the pretext of booking the place for a marriage, Delhi Police commissioner Neeraj Kumar told reporters.

The 62-year-old, who was into education, hotel and real estate business and had declared assets worth over Rs600 crore in 2009, was killed by the men who came in a dark grey Skoda car to his Nitesh Kunj farmhouse. He suffered bullet injuries on his chest and back and slumped bleeding heavily. He was rushed to Army’s Research and Referral Hospital near Dhaula Kuan in south Delhi where he succumbed to the injuries. The post-mortem will be carried out in All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Police was informed about the incident by the staff at around 9:15am. Police have collected a video footage of the car in which the attackers came to the farmhouse located next to National Highway No. 8 and used as a hospitality hub. They are also examining call detail records of Bhardwaj.

The CCTV footage, which was aired by some news channels, showed the attackers brandishing guns at guards near the entry gate. Two of the attackers were seen opening the gates and then fleeing in their car.

“They entered the place saying that they have come for booking the place for a marriage because such functions takes place there. They went inside and started talking to Bhardwaj before shooting him twice at point-blank range," Kumar said.

One of the motives of the murder could be property dispute. “There are many angles. Family stays away from him. His wife and son stay away from him at Dwarka. So there are many things," Kumar said when asked about his family.

A senior police official said they were investigating whether any relative gave money to contract killers to murder Bhardwaj. Police were also talking to Bhardwaj’s family members.

Bhardwaj, a B.Com degree holder, had contested the 2009 Lok Sabha elections on a BSP ticket from West Delhi constituency but lost to Congress’ Mahabal Mishra. He also ran a school in Dwarka called the Shiksha Bharti Public School.

According to the 2009 affidavit he filed with Election Commission, his assets of over Rs600 crore included agricultural land worth Rs368.22 crore in his name, his wife had land worth Rs100.35 crore. Bhardwaj also owned buildings worth Rs28.75 crore.

Tuesday’s attack comes within four months of the shootout on 17 November last year, when businessman Ponty Chadha and his brother Hardeep were killed in a South Delhi farmhouse. In another incident around noon on Tuesday, a 25-year-old woman was shot dead and her father injured in New Delhi in a metro station in East Delhi allegedly by her husband, who was fighting a divorce case. The incident took place at the Karkardooma metro station at around 12:10pm.

The deceased has been identified as Deepti. Pawan, the accused, fled the scene after leaving behind a 12 bore double barrel gun at the spot. Deepti and her father Bisham Das were entering the metro station when Pawan allegedly opened fire. She was rushed to nearby Hedgewar hospital but was declared brought dead while Das is undergoing treatment in Deepak Memorial hospital.

Five empty cartridges and the car in which Pawan came to the spot were also recovered from the spot. Several teams of investigators, including those from the Crime Branch, are on a hunt to arrest the killers of both Bhardwaj and Deepti.

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