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Ankita Bhandari murder case: Vanantra Resort owned by BJP leader’s son Pulkit Arya demolished

Pulkit Arya, who owns the Vanantra Resort, along with two of his employees, manager Saurabh Bhaskar, and assistant manager Ankit Gupta, were arrested on Friday.

Ankita Bhandari murder case: Vanantra Resort owned by BJP leader’s son Pulkit Arya demolished
The Vanantra Resort in Uttarakhand's Rishikesh owned by Pulkit Arya, who allegedly murdered a teenage girl, was demolished on late Saturday night. (Photo: ANI)

On the orders of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, the Vanantra Resort in Uttarakhand’s Rishikesh owned by Pulkit Arya who allegedly murdered a teenage girl, was demolished on late Saturday night, ANI reported.

Pulkit is the son of former Uttarakhand minister and BJP leader Vinod Arya. He served as the Minister of State in the previous BJP government headed by Trivendra Singh Rawat.

The CM has also given instructions to district magistrates to investigate all resorts of the state.

Arya, who owns the Vanantra Resort, along with two of his employees, manager Saurabh Bhaskar, and assistant manager Ankit Gupta, were arrested on Friday for allegedly killing a 19-year-old girl, identified as Ankita Bhandari, who was missing for the last few days. She worked as a receptionist at the resort.

Bhandari hailed from Srikot village in Pauri Garhwal and was hired as a receptionist at the resort about a month ago.

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Pauri Additional Superintendent of Police Shekhar Chandra Suyal said that the accused have confessed to having pushed the woman into the Chilla power house canal following an altercation.

The ASP added they had tried to mislead police interrogation earlier, but later confessed, when they were interrogated sternly.

Although there are allegations, that the woman had resisted attempts by the accused to push her into prostitution, Pauri Garhwal SSP Yaswant Singh told The Indian Express that the police are “looking into all possibilities”.

“There is a phone chat of the girl suggesting that the accused were bothering her. The accused said the girl left the resort around 8 pm with them to visit Rishikesh. There, they had momos and liquor, and later there was a heated exchange between Pulkit and Ankita near the canal. During the altercation, Ankita threw Pulkit’s phone into the canal. He then pushed her into the canal,” the SSP said, as quoted by IE.

“The FIR was initially registered under section 365 (kidnapping) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), now we have added IPC sections 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence or giving false information),” the SSP said.

The three accused have been sent to 14-day judicial custody by a Kotdwar court.

A missing complaint had been lodged at a revenue police outpost after Bhandari’s parents couldn’t find her in her room on Monday morning. Her body was found on Saturday, ANI reported.

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Meanwhile, protesting locals had gheraoed the police vehicle that was carrying the accused and assaulted them, before the cops managed to take them away.

Calling it a “heinous crime”, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has promised “the harshest action” saying ” whoever the culprit is, will not be spared”.

Opposition Congress in the state questioned why there was a delay in registering the First Information Report (FIR).

“It’s horrific. When the girl went missing on September 18, why did the police register the FIR on September 21? Till when will this brazen misuse of power by BJP and RSS leaders continue?” said state Congress spokesperson Garima Mehra Dasauni, as quoted by NDTV.

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