Uttarakhand resort murder: The last rites of Ankita Bhandari were performed by her family on Sunday at NIT ghats in Uttarakhand's Srinagar. The 19-year-old receptionist's body was found in a canal a day ago, and the police have so far arrested three in connection with her death.
Ankita's parents had earlier in the day agreed to conduct the cremations, despite vowing not to perform any rites without the complete post-mortem. Ankita Bhandari's body was found in the Cheela canal close to Rishikesh on Saturday, six days after her parents found her missing from her room.
Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:
- Protests broke out across Uttarkhand demanding justice for the teenager. The Rishikesh-Badrinath national highway was blocked for several hours in Shrinagar area.
- As the protesters sat on a dharna on the highway on Sunday, police tried to pacify them by bringing Ankita's father Virendra Singh Bhandari to the spot to talk to them. The protesters, however, refused to budge.
- Ankita Bhandari worked at the Vanantara resort in Pauri district's Yamkeshwar block owned by Haridwar BJP leader Vinod Arya's son Pulkit Arya. Pulkit and two other employees have been arrested in the case.
- The family of the deceased also spoke against the demolition exercise carried out at the resort where she was working as a receptionist. "It may be an attempt to destroy evidence," Ajay said.
- Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami called on Governor Lieutenant General Gurmit Singh (Retd) at the Raj Bhavan and informed him about the action taken in the death case of Ankita Bhandari. In the meeting with the governor, CM Dhami also held a detailed discussion on the development plans of the state, law and order and the action taken in relation to irregular appointments in the Vidhan Sabha.
- The SIT In-charge of Ankita Bhandari's murder case, DIG PR Devi, told ANI that Ankita's WhatsApp chats that have surfaced are also being probed.
- As per a viral chat, it is alleged that it was being said that the guest would get 'extra service' for Rs 10,000. In the WhatsApp chat, there is talk of providing 'extra service' in the name of providing spa treatment at the Vanatara Resort.
- An employee at the resort also alleged that Ankita Bhandari had called him crying on September 17 and asked him to take her bags out of the resort. He also confirmed that he saw Ankita at around 3 PM with three other people while only the rest of them returned except Ankita.
- He also confirmed that the owner Pulkit Arya's brother Ankit Arya came at 8 AM on September 18 and talked about preparing dinner for four people and said that he would have dinner in Ankita's room. This was countered by the employee as he said that the service boy can make the dinner, however, the resort's helper alleged that Ankit wanted to mislead the staff as Ankita had not returned.
- Earlier on Saturday, the Vanatara resort in Rishikesh owned by expelled BJP leader Vinod Arya's son Pulkit Arya, who is an accused in the Ankita Bhandari murder case, was set on fire by angry locals.
(with agencies inputs)