Gunmen kill wealthy Indian multi-millionaire populist politician

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Attackers shot dead a multi-millionaire businessman and populist politician at his luxury farmhouse on Tuesday on the outskirts of the Indian capital, police said.

Mr Deepak Bharadwaj, a 62-year-old leader of the low-caste Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) who had declared wealth of six billion rupees (S$137 million), was gunned down by three men early on Tuesday, police said.

"They entered the place saying they came to book the place for a marriage, because such functions take place there. They went inside and started talking to Bharadwaj before shooting him twice," police commissioner Neeraj Kumar said.

Mr Bharadwaj, who was an unsuccessful candidate in the 2009 national elections, had real estate, hotel and other interests.

He was one of the wealthiest candidates to contest the general elections which returned the Congress party to power.

Police said a property dispute could have been behind the killing.

Last November powerful Indian liquor baron Ponty Chadha, dubbed the "Baron of Booze" by the media, and his brother Hardeep died in a shootout at their farmhouse on Delhi's outskirts when a family property feud turned fatal.

The BSP, led by firebrand politician Mayawati who champions those at the bottom of India's complex Hindu caste heirarchy, supports the Congress-led coalition government from outside.

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