A day after expelled Bharatiya Janata Party leader Vinod Arya's son Pulkit Arya was arrested on charges of murdering a 19-year-old girl, a resort in Rishikesh, belonging to the accused was bulldozed by authorities on Saturday. Angry locals also set the resort on fire, as the news of the murder spread.
Pulkit Arya and two staff members of the resort confessed to the murder of Ankita Bhandari, a 19-year-old girl who worked in the resort.
ANI tweeted visuals of the Vantara resort being destroyed by a bulldozer on Saturday morning.
NDTV reported that Vinod Arya, the father of the accused and Ankit Arya, the brother of the accused were expelled from the party. The father, Vinod Arya, was also removed from the post of deputy chairman of the Uttarakhand Other Backward Classes Commission by the government.
Here's what you need to know about the case:
Who is Ankita Bhandari?
Ankita Bhandari was a 19-year-old girl who worked at the Vantara resort in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. She hailed from the Pauri Gharwal region in the state.
The Times of India reported that she went missing from the resort for four days. According to the girl's father Virendra Bhandari, Ankita went missing from the resort on September 18 after which he registered a police complaint.
Was there police inaction?
The father of the girl has said that he had trouble registering a police complaint and alleged the police took the side of the accused.
He told The Times of India, "I went to the resort to check the CCTV footage, but the camera was broken. The local police were taking the side of the accused. I even saw the accused chatting with them."
However, the police arrested Pulkit and two others on Friday after the news of the murder went viral on social media.
What have the police found?
The police have said that the accused first tried to mislead them but later confessed to the murder. VK Jogdande, the district magistrate of Pauri Garhwal told ANI, "All three accused arrested, their statements recorded. They said that they pushed her into a canal, SDRF searched the area. The water level was high. So, the level was decreased and her body was recovered this morning."
What has happened so far in the case?
Apart from the arrests, the police said they have found the body of the girl and have sent it for a post-mortem. Jogdande told ANI that a "panchnama" was recorded in front of the family and the entire process of postmortem through a panel will be videographed.
The accused have been put in jail after being produced in court on Friday. NDTV reported that the angry locals surrounded the protest van and assaulted the accused while they were being taken to court.
The government announced that it had formed a special investigation team (SIT) to investigate the case. Uttarakhand chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said the strictest punishment would be given to the accused and no one would be spared.
The chief minister said that the resort belonging to Pulkit had been sealed and that action against all illegal resorts will continue.
How have locals reacted?
The murder has caused large scale outrage in Uttarakhand. The locals not only attacked the accused, but also set the Vantara resort on fire on Saturday morning. This was after demolition was carried out in the area.
ANI reported that protesting locals also vandalised Uttarakhand MLA Renu Bisht's car over the murder.
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