As a Special Investigation Team (SIT) continues to investigate the murder of Ankita Bhandari, the Uttarakhand Police invoked the Gangster Act against the three accused.
Three of the accused have already been booked under Sections 302 (murder), 365 (kidnapping or abducting with the intent to secretly and wrongfully confine a person), and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence or giving false information to screen offender) of the IPC. The three accused are former BJP leader and state minister Vinod Arya’s son Pulkit Arya, resort manager Saurabh Bhaskar, and assistant manager Ankit Gupta.
As stated in the FIR, Pulkit was the kingpin and enriched himself by engaging in illegal activities along with Gupta and Bhaskar in the resort and surrounding areas.
Furthermore, the FIR states that the accused committed heinous crimes in the area, which disturbed public peace and order.
The Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar had stated that the three would also be charged under the Gangster Act. Pulkit has a case against him at Haridwar Kotwali for allegedly cheating in the Uttarakhand Ayurveda Pre-Medical Test (UAPMT) in 2016. Currently, the cheating case is pending in court.
During an altercation on September 18, Bhandari, who worked at Pulkit’s Vanantra Resort, was allegedly pushed into a canal by him.
Police had confirmed that they had found evidence suggesting that the three accused were allegedly pressuring Bhandari to provide “special services” to some of the guests and killed her when she resisted. Six days after she went missing from the resort, her body was recovered from a canal.
Several police officials report that Pulkit admitted to pushing Bhandari into the canal, and the body was recovered from the site where Pulkit confessed.
As a result of the murder, protests were held throughout the state and even in other parts of the country.
Pushkar Singh Dhami, the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, has promised that no one will be spared and that strict action will be taken against the accused. To investigate the case, he also formed an SIT headed by Deputy Inspector General (DIG) P Renuka Devi.
On Sunday, a section of a gooseberry processing unit owned by Pulkit caught fire. The fire was likely caused by a short circuit in the building’s inverter fitting, according to police and fire department officials.
In addition, no evidence related to the case was affected.