Days before his disappearance, the victim, Ankita Bhandari, she had sent a chilling note to her dear friend on WhatsApp, saying: “They are forcing me to provide extra service to hotel guests, feeling insecure … once the owner tried to kiss me hard.” She had also shared her agony with some of the staff.
Police on Friday said the teenager had joined the resort for a salary of Rs 10,000 a month on August 28 this year and that the main accused, Pulkit Arya, 35, who is also the son of an elderly man. BJP leader and former state minister Vinod Arya, allegedly pushed her to “develop sexual relations with her guests to earn extra” despite her constant rejections.
Angry locals gathered at the resort on Friday
His father, Virendra Bhandariresident of Khanda Srikot, said that when his daughter disappeared on the night of September 18, he was informed the next day, following which he “ran from pillar to pillar to have a case registered with the revenue police” and he succeeded only after the intervention of the president of the state assembly Ritu Khanduri.
Aside from Pulkit, the resort manager Saurabh Bhaskar, 35, and staff member Ankit Gupta, 19, were arrested and IPC sections 302 (murder), 120-b (criminal conspiracy), and 201 (causing evidence to disappear) were later added against them. . All three are from Jwalapur in the Haridwar district.
Disclosing the details of the case, SSP, Pauri Garhwal, Yashwant Singh, said: “During interrogation Thursday evening, the three accused confessed to their crime. Saurabh Bhaskar told police that on the evening of September 18 Pulkit, the owner of the Vanantara resort, and the girl was involved in an argument in his room, in front of him and Ankit Gupta. ”
The SSP added: “At around 8pm, the three accused then left the resort with her on two bicycles: the girl sitting with Pulkit while Bhaskar and Gupta were on another bicycle. They went to AIIMS Rishikesh and they had some snacks. From there, they went to Chilla Barrage at around 8.30, where the three of them drank alcohol. There they had another argument with the girl. In a fit of rage, Pulkit pushed her off a cliff, to a few km from the resort, in the river, where she drowned in a few minutes.The search is now underway to recover the body.
Shekhar Suyal, ASP (Kotdwar), head of a 14-member survey team, said: “The next morning, according to their plan, the three told others in the resort that the receptionist had disappeared from his. room. One of the staff members who had received a phone call from her on the night of her disappearance informed the police that he saw her very tense and was crying profusely. ”
Angry locals, including women, preventing the police from taking the accused to court in Rishikesh.
The girl’s father, still in complete shock, said: “I went to the resort to check the footage from the surveillance cameras, but the camera was broken. The local tax police were lining up on the defendant’s side. Ho even when I saw the defendant with Left without choice, I found the number of the speaker of the assembly and I informed her by telephone of everything. She belongs to a neighboring village. She listened patiently and asked the district magistrate to register a case immediately as a result of which the local patwari (police inspector of revenue) filed a kidnapping case under IPC section 365 on 21 September before being transferred to the regular police the next morning. ”
A senior police officer from Pauri Garhwal, familiar with the case, asking for anonymity, told TOI: “Patwari inspector Vivek Kumar wasted crucial time in the case. There was progress only after three days of “Incident. We fear that much of the evidence has already been lost. The girl’s body has yet to be recovered. An autopsy is critical to determining the details of the murder. The district administration should order a broader investigation.”
“To our shock, it was found that the Patwari-recorded case of the missing girl was about the complaint of the accused resort owner and not the girl’s father,” he said.
He also said: “It was also discovered that the girl had two cell phones whose last location was tracked down at the AIIMS Rishikesh and Raiwala, respectively, around 8 pm. After about half an hour, both phones they were off. They were probably with her when she was pushed off the cliff. ” DM Pauri Garhwal Vijay Kumar Jogdande and patwari Vivek Kumar were not available for comment.
Earlier in the day, after police arrested the three accused, angry locals, including large numbers of women, gathered at the resort to vandalize him. They also beat the three defendants after stopping the police vehicle that was taking them to a local court.
Amid the huge uproar following the incident, CM Pushkar Singh Dham of Uttarakhand ordered the concerned authorities on Friday night to inspect all operating resorts in the state and take appropriate action against those found illegally built. He also asked authorities to inquire about the conditions of staff at resorts, hotels and guesthouses in the state and to “take their complaints seriously”.