Senior BJP leader Vinod Arya’s son, Pulkit Arya, has been arrested for the murder of a 19-year-old woman who worked as a receptionist at a resort he owns near Rishikesh, in Pauri district. He had reported her missing on Monday, as did her family, but it later turned out he’d killed her with help from two staff members, who have been arrested too, police said.
The body is yet to be found — search was on in Chilla Canal near the resort — and police are probing the motive amid allegations of delayed action “because the accused’s father belongs to the state’s ruling party”.
The ‘missing person’ report was filed by Pulkit Arya and the woman’s family with the local revenue official after they didn’t find her in her room on Monday morning. “In Uttarakhand, we have a system of the patwari (land revenue official) registering FIRs where the area doesn’t have regular police stations,” state police chief Ashok Kumar explained. The resort, Vanantra, is in Yamkeshwar area, about 10 km from main town Rishikesh.
“Once the case was transferred to us, we worked it out within 24 hours. Further investigation is on,” the police chief said.
Police were swift after the news went viral on social media yesterday, and her family named Pulkit Arya, whose father Vinod Arya currently holds a state minister’s rank without a post in the government. He earlier served as a minister and remained chairperson of Uttarakhand Mati Kala Board, a government organisation for pottery promotion.
Opposition Congress said cops were slow “because Vinod Arya is with the RSS”. “It’s horrific. When the girl went missing on September 18, why did the police register the FIR on September 21?” said state Congress spokesperson Garima Mehra Dasauni, “Till when will this brazen misuse of power by BJP and RSS leaders continue?”
Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami promised “the harshest action” no matter who’s involved. “This is a very sad incident, a very heinous crime. The police have done all the work regarding the arrest. The harshest action will be taken. Whoever the culprit is, will not be spared,” he told reporters.
Besides Pulkit Arya, resort manager Saurabh Bhaskar and assistant manager Ankit Gupta have been arrested. “Initially, they tried to mislead the police, but when interrogated sternly they confessed to the crime,” a police officer from Pauri added.