The alleged murder of a 19 year old, Ankita Bhandari, in the Vanantara resort in Uttarakhand’s Pauri district has sparked massive outrage across the country. Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar said that the 19-year-old receptionist was being pressured by Pulkit Arya, the resort owner, to provide “special services” to guests.
The girl went missing on September 18 following which a missing complaint was lodged at a revenue police outpost after the girl was not found in her room by her parents on Monday morning.
The case sparked widespread outrage across the state, with locals setting the partially-demolished resort owned by the accused on fire, and vandalizing a BJP leader’s car on Saturday. The BJP on Saturday expelled Vinod Arya and Ankit Arya, the father and brother of main accused Pulkit Arya, from the party with immediate effect.
A provisional postmortem report of Ankita, whose body was recovered from a canal Saturday six days after she allegedly went missing from a resort owned by a former BJP minister’s son in the Laxman Jhula area of Uttarakhand, has confirmed the cause of death was drowning and said there were antemortem injuries which means injuries before death on her body, suggestive of blunt force trauma.
As the incident created public outrage, CM Pushkar Singh Dhami took cue from his UP counterpart, Yogi Adityanath, and ordered ‘bulldozer action’. Uttarakhand Special Principal Secretary to the CM Abhinav Kumar said that Pulkit Arya-owned resort is being demolished after Dhami’s orders. Earlier, the angry residents had vandalized the resort.
He’s the son of Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Hardiwar, and a former chairman of Uttarakhand Mati Kala Board. Vinod Arya has been granted a state minister’s rank but holds no post in the government. Pulkit Arya, the resort owner, manager Saurabh Bhaskar, and assistant manager Ankit Gupta were arrested after they confessed to have killed the missing girl and thrown her body into the Chilla Canal, Pauri Additional Superintendent of Police Shekhar Chandra Suyal said.
The three accused were sent to 14-day judicial custody by a Kotdwar court, police said. The father of the girl alleged that the girl was molested by the accused and the audio of the incident had been recorded.
The SIT on Sunday told ANI that her Whatsapp chats were also being probed. As per reports a WhatsApp chat has come to the fore in the investigation. According to police sources, in this chat, Ankita is telling her friend that the owner of the resort is pressuring her to provide `extra service` to the guests. It is alleged that it was being said that the guest would get `extra service` for Rs 10,000 in the name of spa at the resort.
An employee at the resort also alleged that Ankita Bhandari had called him crying on September 17 and asked him to take her bags out of the resort. He also confirmed that he saw Ankita at around 3 PM with three other people while only the rest of them returned except Ankita.
Meanwhile, the family of Ankita, refused to cremate the body. The family said they were not satisfied with the provisional report and demanded a case in a fast-track court. However, later in the day, the family agreed to the cremation.