Three including resort owner arrested for allegedly murdering receptionist

Saturday, 24 September 2022 | PNS | PAURI

The Pauri district police have claimed to have solved the case of missing Ankita Bhandari (19) who was working at the Vanantara resort in the Ganga Bhogpur area. The police have arrested the resort owner Pulkit Arya, manager Sharav Bhaskar and Ankit alias Pulkit Gupta for the alleged murder of Bhandari. The trio allegedly murdered the young receptionist following a heated argument as they were allegedly pressurising her to provide undue favours to guests. The main accused Pulkit Arya is the son of the BJP leader Vinod Arya. All the arrested accused are residents of Haridwar. On Friday, the Lakshman Jhula police registered a case against three accused under sections 302, 201 and 120 B of Indian Penal Code while efforts to recover her body from the canal are continuing. Meanwhile, chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has said that the Rishikesh incident is tragic and heinous. He stressed that the government will work to ensure that those guilty of the heinous crime receive stern punishment. The police are doing their work and the government will ensure that the victim gets justice, he said.

Working as a receptionist at the Vanantara resort on the Barrage-Chilla Road in Yamkeshwar block of Pauri district, Ankita Bhandari was missing since the evening of September 18. The resort owner Pulkit Arya had filed the missing person’s report in the revenue police post at Udaipur Malla. Her family members and residents of Shrikot from where she hailed, met additional district magistrate Ela Giri on Wednesday and demanded that the case should be transferred to regular police from revenue police. They alleged that the revenue police was apathetic in the case. The district administration transferred the case to regular police on Thursday.                      Taking cognisance of the case, director general of police Ashok Kumar instructed Pauri senior superintendent of police Yashwant Chauhan to crack the case. Heading the police team probing the case, Kotdwar additional superintendent of police Shekhar Chandra Suyal told this correspondent that during the investigation, electronic surveillance and CCTV footage revealed that on September 18, the victim along with Arya, Bhaskar and Gupta had gone to Rishikesh at 8 PM and returned to the resort at about 10 PM. The employees of the resort told the police that only the three accused had returned to the resort. They also said that the victim had appeared nervous earlier in the evening. The police said that the accused confessed their crime and informed that they had gone to Rishikesh with Ankita after a heated argument at the resort. While returning, they made a halt about 1.5 kilometres ahead of Chilla post where there was again a heated argument. They were angry with her for telling her friends that she was being pressurised to provide undue favours to the visitors at the resort. Following the argument, she was pushed into the canal. Meanwhile, on the basis of information provided by the accused, the State Disaster Response Force and police teams began searching for the body of Ankita in the canal. The body had not been found till the time of filing this report.

Earlier, angry residents blocked the police vehicle carrying the three accused and also manhandled them. The locals also caused some damage to the resort when officials arrived to seal it.

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