A day after a senior BJP leader’s son and three of his accomplices were arrested for allegedly murdering a 19-year-old woman, her body was recovered from a canal by authorities in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand on Saturday morning.
A day after a senior BJP leader’s son and three of his accomplices were arrested for allegedly murdering a 19-year-old woman, her body was recovered from a canal by authorities in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand on Saturday morning. She was reportedly killed for “rejecting demand for prostitution”.
Ankita Bhandari, a receptionist working at the resort owned by Pulkit Arya, the son of former BJP minister Vinod Arya, went missing five days back, prompting a search operation and furore on social media in the hill state.
Her body was fished out from Chilla Barrage by deep-diving teams of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) in Rishikesh. The search operation was launched after Arya, the main accused, reportedly confessed to the Uttarakhand Police that he had pushed the woman into the canal from a cliff on September 18 night.
Ankita’s body was found in a decomposed state and later, identified by her family members. It has been sent for post-mortem examination.
The resort, named Vanatara in Rishikesh’s Laxman Jhula area, was razed by the BJP government on Friday night after Arya’s arrest. Authorities said the property was built illegally.
Chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has ordered an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to be headed by DIG P Renuka Devi.
“Strictest possible action would be taken against all the accused involved in this heinous crime. Arrests of the accused have already been made and we would ensure that Ankita gets justice,” Dhami tweeted.
Ankita was a resident of Dobh Srikot area of Pauri, as per the police. As per local media, she was killed by Arya and two employees of the resort for refusing to indulge in prostitution with guests.
A local patwari and a police inspector have been suspended for not registering a case following her disappearance for three days, reports said.
Vinod Arya is presently the national executive member of BJP’s OBC wing. The BJP leader is co-incharge of the party’s affairs in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh. Pulkit’s brother Ankit currently enjoys the status of a minister of state in the Dhami government. He is vice chairman of the Uttarakhand State OBC Commission.
Pulkit has a history of courting controversies. He was criticized for visiting a restricted area in Uttarkashi with controversial UP leader Amarpati Tripathi during the Covid-19 lockdown.