Sonali Phogat’s Death: How the Case Evolved From ‘Heart Attack’ To ‘Murder’

The 41-year-old actor-turned-politician Sonali Phogat had died in Goa while she was on a shoot on 23 August.

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From suspected heart attack to murder, ever since the death of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sonali Phogat, the case has seen several developments with various allegations made by the family and the eventual unfolding investigation of the police.

The 41-year-old actor-turned-politician Phogat had died in Goa while she was on a shoot on 23 August.

On the basis of a complaint lodged by Phogat's brother, Rinku Dhaka, the Goa Police registered a First Information Report (FIR) and arrested two of the accused, Sukhwinder Singh and Sudhir Sangwan (Phogat's personal assistant).

Security camera footage has also emerged of Phogat staggering out of Curlies, a popular restaurant in Goa. In the footage, she is seen as being unable to walk on her own and is being helped by her aide.

On Saturday, 27 August, Goa Police detained a North Goa restaurant owner and a suspected drug peddler, who had allegedly supplied drugs to Singh and Sangwan, a senior officer said.

Police also claim that they have footage showing Sudhir Sangwan forcing a spiked drink on Phogat, NDTV reported.

During the initial course of investigation, the police had said, “Prime facie, the cause of death is established as heart attack." However, the new developments in the investigation suggest that she was murdered.

Here's how the case has evolved since the death of Phogat.


Allegations Made By Phogat's Family

  • Dismissing heart attack as the cause of death, her family had claimed she didn't have any medical issues and it was not possible for her to have died of a heart attack. "She was very fit. We demand a proper investigation by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation). My family is not ready to accept that she died of a heart attack," Phogat's sister, Rupesh, had said.

  • Later, Dhaka, in his complaint, claimed that a short while before her death, Phogat had spoken to her mother, sister, and brother-in-law. She sounded disturbed during the conversation and complained about her two colleagues, he alleged, adding that she was going to report it to Hisar Police the next day.

  • He also alleged that three months ago Sudhir fed her kheer after which her "hands and legs started trembling and stopped working."

  • Adding to the list of allegations, he also said that Sonali had told him that three years ago, Sudhir had sexually assaulted her after spiking her food and later blackmailed her.

  • Sudhir had also allegedly taken away both her phones, property papers, ATM card, and house keys.


The Unfolding Police Investigation

As mentioned above, the police had earlier said that the cause of Phogat's death is established as heart attack.

However, her post-mortem report revealed 'multiple blunt force injuries' on her body. After which, the police on Thursday, 25 August, added sections of murder to the registered FIR, and the two accused were detained and questioned overnight.

On Friday, 26 August, the police arrested Sukhwinder and Sudhir and took them for medical checkup. The police in its statement also said that the accused spiked Phogat's drink with some obnoxious substance and forced her to drink it.

"Later she was taken by Sangwan and Singh to the hotel where they were staying, and then to St Anthony's hospital, where she was declared brought dead," the police added.

Dr Sunil Shrikant Chimbolkar of the Forensic Science Department of GMCH, in his report, reserved his opinion on the cause of death.

"There are multiple blunt force injuries over the body. In view of the above, the manner of death is for the investigating officer to ascertain," it added.

Adding to it, the police said that the post-mortem report had not mentioned the exact cause of death and it would be available only after a chemical examination of the viscera, histopathological, and serological reports, which would take some time.

Jaspal Singh, Director-General of Police (DGP) of Goa said, "The post-mortem report remained inconclusive. The only way left is to question the suspects to ascertain the manner of death."

Her last rites were conducted in Haryana's Hisar on Friday, 26 August.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI.)

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Topics:  Murder   Goa   Sonali Phogat 

Edited By :Padmashree Pande
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