A parking row between two businessman brothers estranged by a property dispute grew so heated that it ended in the death of both and the wife of the elder sibling in north Delhi’s Model Town on Thursday night, the police said on Friday.
The younger brother’s son was injured in the incident and two of his security guards were arrested for the killing of the elder brother and his wife, reports said.
Brothers Jaspal Singh and Gurjeet Singh, who had real estate and money lending businesses and ran eateries, lived with their families on separate floors of a large, three-storey bungalow outside which the deaths took place.
The incident was a throwback to another long-standing family dispute in which liquor baron Ponty Chadha and his younger brother were killed in shooting at a south Delhi farmhouse in 2012.
Jaspal and Gurjeet shared an acrimonious past and had lodged nine first information reports, or initial police complaints, against each other.
But the trigger for the killings was a fight over parking space for their expensive cars. Together, the two brothers owned nine cars, all of which they parked outside their house.
According to Ravinder Singh Kohli, a cousin of the siblings who briefed journalists, the quarrel leading to the deaths began around 11.30 pm on Thursday when 52-year-old Jaspal Singh was readying to drop a friend in his Audi car. It was at that moment that Gurjeet Singh, 48, arrived with some friends in a Ford Endeavour and demanded that his brother vacate a parking spot for his vehicle.
“Jaspal claimed the parking spot was his and refused to oblige. An angry Gurjeet responded by shattering the rear windscreen of Jaspal’s Audi. That escalated the quarrel that quickly turned violent,” said Kohli. The sequence of events, which Kohli claimed to have gathered from family members of both the dead sibling was corroborated by the investigators. Immediate family members of Jaspal Singh and Gurjeet Singh refused to speak to the media themselves.
An investigator who is not authorised to speak to the media said on condition of anonymity that Jaspal Singh took out a a kirpan (dagger) and stabbed his younger brother on the neck. “Almost immediately, Gurjeet’s 25-year-old son Jagnoor rushed to save his father. Jagnoor too was stabbed in his stomach, and he collapsed. He is seriously injured and hospitalised,” said the investigator.
Two private security guards hired by Gurjeet Singh, identified as Vicky Deshwal and Pawan Kumar, responded to the dagger attack by firing gunshots, the officer said.
Jaspal Singh’s 50-year-old wife, Prabhjot, was hit by the first two bullets when she tried to shield her husband. She was hit in her stomach and right eye, the police said.
“Seeing his wife collapse, Jaspal ran to save his life. But the guards fired two more rounds at him, hitting him in the rear. Despite being hit, Jaspal continued running and sought refuge with a neighbour-cum-relative. The two guards, meanwhile, fled the spot on foot,” said Kohli, the cousin of the brothers.
Jaspal Singh and Gurjeet Singh were declared dead on arrival at two different hospitals. Prabhjot was rushed by her daughter to a hospital, where doctor declared her dead on arrival. Jagnoor was hospitalised.
The two guards, arrested on Friday evening, were hired by Gurjeet Singh a few years ago. They also doubled up as bouncers at a bar Gurjeet Singh runs in Model town, said Kohli. Police said Gurjeet Singh had violated the law by employing private armed guards.
“We have registered two cases of murder and under the Arms Act,” said Aslam Khan, deputy commissioner of police (north-west).