Huge Backlash Over Uttarakhand Resort Murder, BJP Expels Ex Minister

Senior BJP leader Vinod Arya's son, Pulkit Arya, was arrested for the murder of the young receptionist at a resort he owns in Pauri district near Rishikesh.

The resort is about 10 km from the main town, Rishikesh.

New Delhi:

Following widespread outrage over the murder of a young girl allegedly by a senior BJP leader's son, the party today expelled the father and the brother of the accused. BJP leader Vinod Arya and the accused's brother Ankit Arya, who was also a party member, have been kicked out of the party following the accused Pulkit Arya's arrest after the murder.

Vinod Arya served as a chairman of the Uttarakhand Mati Kala Board with a state minister's rank, while Ankit Arya was the vice president of the state Other Backwards Classes Commission. Both have been sacked from their posts by the state government.

A day after the administration bulldozed parts of the Uttarakhand resort where Pulkit Arya allegedly murdered the 19-year-old woman who worked as a receptionist, angry locals set fire to parts of the building. They also vandalised local BJP MLA Renu Bisht's car. Cops had to reportedly evacuate her to safety.

Pulkit Arya was arrested for the murder of the young receptionist at a resort he owns near Rishikesh, in Pauri district, Uttarakhand. He had reported her missing on Monday, as did her family, but police said it later turned out he, along with two staff members, had killed her. Those two have been arrested too.

Civic authorities had demolished the resort overnight on the orders of Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami.

The woman's body was recovered from a canal this morning. Police are probing the motive amid allegations of inaction "because the accused's father belongs to the state's ruling party BJP and RSS".

There are allegations that the teenager was being forced into prostitution, but the police have not confirmed it.

Besides Pulkit Arya, resort manager Saurabh Bhaskar and assistant manager Ankit Gupta have been arrested. They admitted to the crime when questioned, the police said.

When the men were arrested yesterday, protesting locals surrounded the police vehicle and assaulted them before the police managed to take them away.

The opposition Congress has said the police were slow "because of his links with the RSS-BJP".

"It's horrific. When the girl went missing on September 18, why did the police register the FIR on September 21?" state Congress spokesperson Garima Mehra Dasauni said. "Till when will this brazen misuse of power by BJP and RSS leaders continue?"

Mr Dhami promised "the harshest action" no matter who is involved.

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