BJP's Sonali Phogat's Drink Was Spiked, 2 Accused Have Admitted, Say Goa Cops, Cite CCTV Footage

Goa police cite CCTV footage from Curlie's Restaurant, besides alleged confessions from the two arrested associates of the actor-politician

Sonali Phogat, 42, was brought dead to the hospital on August 23 morning.

Panaji:

Actor and BJP leader Sonali Phogat was forcibly made to drink "some obnoxious substance" mixed in water by her two associates while partying at a restaurant-cum-nightclub in Goa, the police have said, citing security camera footage and alleged confessions. She "felt uneasy" after it and could barely walk on her own before her associates took her to the hotel where all of them were staying. She was brought dead to a hospital the next morning.

Police said that Sudhir Sangwan and Sukhwinder Singh, the two associates accused of murdering the Bigg Boss contestant Sonali Phogat, were arrested last evening so that they could not destroy the evidence. 

"CCTV recordings of relevant premises were examined by the Investigating Officer and it was found that Sudhir was forcefully making Sonali to drink the alleged liquid in a water bottle," the police statement read. He was seen holding on to her as she staggered her way out of the restaurant before they left for the hotel. 

The alleged spiking happened when Sonali Phogat, 42, was with the two men at a popular party joint called Curlie's Restaurant, last Monday night. From there they had gone to hotel Grand Leonny. 

When she was brought dead to St Anthony's Hospital in Anjuna, North Goa, the next morning, it was initially seen as a case of heart attack. But her family sensed something amiss and demanded a thorough probe.

After Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar intervened as well, police eventually filed a murder case and, in her post-mortem report yesterday, it came to light that "there are multiple blunt force injuries over the body". The report said police need to investigate the cause of death.

Police today said finding the cause "would take a while... only after chemical examination of viscera" and other tests. 

Haryana Chief Minister Khattar had yesterday said that the viscera would be examined at a state facility in Chandigarh too, besides in Goa, as per the family's demand.

He also said he is open to handing the case over to the Central Bureau of Investigation

The family has alleged rape as well, but police in Goa haven't yet pressed those charges, pending further investigation.

Her brother, Rinku Dhaka, says the killers had the "intention to take over her properties and financial assets and to finish her political career".

With the BJP since 2008, Sonali Phogat had contested the 2019 assembly polls but lost. Her husband Sanjay Phogat, who died six years ago, had been active in social and political circles. She has a teenaged daughter.

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