In the murder case of actor and BJP leader Sonali Phogat, security camera footage has emerged from a Goa restaurant, showing her staggering out while being unable to walk on her own. She is being helped by Sudhir Sangwan, one of her two associates arrested in the case.
The other, Sukhwinder Singh, was with them as they left the popular partying joint, Curlie’s Restaurant, on the Anjuna beach for their hotel on Monday night. She was brought dead to St Anthony’s Hospital the next morning.
Police also said they have footage showing Sudhir Sangwan making Sonali Phogat forcibly drink water that had “some obnoxious substance”. The associates took her to the hotel, Grand Leonny, where all of them were staying, before she died.
When she was brought dead to a hospital in Anjuna, North Goa, the next morning, it was initially seen as a case of heart attack. But her family sensed something amiss and demanded a thorough probe.
After Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar intervened as well, police filed a murder case. In her post-mortem report yesterday, it came to light that “there are multiple blunt force injuries over the body”. The report said police need to investigate the cause of death.
Police today said finding the cause “would take a while… only after chemical examination of viscera” and other tests. The viscera would be examined at a state facility in Chandigarh too, besides in Goa, as per the family’s demand.
Haryana Chief Minister Khattar yesterday said he is open to handing the case over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The family has alleged rape as well, but police haven’t yet pressed those charges, pending further investigation.
As to why she could have been killed, her brother, Rinku Dhaka, says her associates had the “intention to take over her properties and financial assets and to finish her political career”.
Sonali Phogat had contested the 2019 assembly polls but lost. She was with the BJP since 2008. Her husband Sanjay Phogat, who died six years ago, had also been active in social and political circles.
She has a teenaged daughter, who shouldered her bier at the cremation at the family village in Haryana’s Hisar this morning.