Top Cop After Accused In Receptionist’s Murder Attacked

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had ordered an SIT to probe the killing


The murdered Uttarakhand woman, who was working as a receptionist at the now expelled BJP leader’s son’s resort in Rishikesh, was pressured by the resort owner and manager to provide “special services” to guests, state police chief Ashok Kumar has told NDTV.

Investigation based on the questioning of the accused and mobile chat history reveal that the 19-year-old woman was pressured to “do wrong things” by resort owner Pulkit Arya and two others, which she resisted, he said.

“Days before she went missing, the girl had sent WhatsApp messages to her close friend sharing her ordeal,” he said.

Pulkit Arya, the son of now expelled BJP leader and former state minister Vinod Arya, is the prime accused in the case. 

He, along with resort manager Saurabh Bhaskar and assistant manager Ankit Gupta, was arrested for the murder of the receptionist on Friday. The three men allegedly thrashed the girl and pushed her into a canal near the resort after an argument, sources said. 

The girl was last seen with Pulkit, Saurabh and Ankit in a CCTV footage, Ashok Kumar said.

Mr Kumar said they cracked the case and arrested the prime accused within 24 hours after the matter was transferred to regular police from the revenue police on September 22. 

Pretending that the girl has gone missing, Pulkit Arya had filed a missing complaint with the revenue police on September 18, and it was transferred to us on Thursday, Mr Kumar said. He said the alleged delay in action by the Revenue officer or patwari is being probed, and he has been suspended for now.

As details of her murder emerged, violent protests broke out around the resort in Rishikesh with locals breaking glass panes and some trying to torch a pickle factory on its premises. An angry mob also attacked the police car when the accused men were being taken to a court on Friday.

On being asked about the massive outrage over the murder, Mr Kumar said that no one should take law into their hands, but at times police are helpless when emotions run high.

Earlier, a Facebook friend of the woman had reportedly said that his friend was killed because she refused to have sex with guests for which she was offered Rs 10,000.

Mr Kumar said that the Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by Deputy Inspector General of Police Renuka Devi, is now probing the matter, and the police will ensure that the accused get “strictest possible punishment” for the gruesome crime.

The SIT was formed following a directive by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami who has promised “the harshest action” in the case no matter who is involved.

Police recovered the woman’s body from the Chilla canal in Rishikesh on Saturday morning. The draft autopsy report has revealed that the woman died due to drowning, and that she had blunt force trauma.

Civic authorities demolished parts of the resort owned by Pulkit Arya late Friday night, saying it was built “illegally”. BJP leader Vinod Arya and Pulkit’s brother Ankit Arya, also a BJP functionary, were expelled by the party yesterday.

After her body was found, angry locals too torched parts of the resort building that still remain.

The Uttarakhand top cop said police have to go to the resort to collect some more evidence before it’s completely razed.