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'Evidence Razed, Body Not Shown': Murdered Receptionist's Family Claims Betrayal

What questions has the family raised? What have the police said? Here's what we know.

3 min read
'Evidence Razed, Body Not Shown': Murdered Receptionist's Family Claims Betrayal
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The nineteen-year-old resort receptionist, whose murder has flared up protests throughout Uttarakhand, was cremated on Sunday, 25 September, next to the Alakhnanda river in Srinagar, Pauri Garhwal.

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been formed to investigate the murder, while the case will be sent to a fast-track court. Further, Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Kumar posted a call recording on Twitter, of him speaking to the woman's father and promising the noose for the accused.

Vanantara Resort, owned by the main accused Pulkit Arya, is now partially demolished and partially burnt. Arya's father and brother, both BJP leaders, have been expelled from the party.

However, despite the urgency with which the investigation is being conducted now, the police probe seems to keep falling short of the family’s claims.

What questions has the family raised? What have the police said? Here's what we know.


Mother Claims Trickery by the Police

In a purported video that surfaced on social media on Monday, 26 September, the mother of the 19-year-old can be heard saying that she never got to see her daughter's body and was instead "tricked" into going to a hospital.

News reports had earlier stated that the mother was taken to a hospital as she was unwell.

However, in the video, she claims that though she was fine the administration took her to the hospital on the pretext of showing her, her daughter's mortal remains.

"They took my husband along forcibly but didn't take me. They brought me here from where I live, saying I will see my daughter," the mother can be heard saying from a hospital bed.

She further said that she was sitting at the local civic body's office when four to five people approached her and said they would take her to her daughter's cremation site.

"Doctors then put me in a wheelchair. I asked why was it needed but they took me to a hospital. They then forcibly put me on intravenous sugar solution and started recording a video," she added.

"I said I am her mother, I won't do anything until I see her. I said I won't budge until you show me my daughter. I wasn't unwell at all. They tricked me into coming here. This is just for show, they have betrayed us."
The mother of the murdered receptionist.

The cremation took place amid a huge police presence, while locals blocked roads and highways.

The 19-year-old, who went missing from the Rishikesh resort on 18 September, was allegedly murdered by Pulkit and two others after she reportedly resisted their attempts to push her into prostitution.

The victim's father had earlier refused to perform her last rites, saying they are "not satisfied" with the post-mortem report. The teen's kin had also questioned the state government's action of demolishing the resort.


Father Claims Evidence Was Razed

A day before the mother's claims, civic authorities razed parts of the resort, while locals set part of it on fire.

Questioning the demolition, the teen's father alleged that the action “might have erased crucial evidence." The Opposition raised the same question.

Responding to the allegation, DGP Ashok Kumar was quoted as saying, "Police have videographed the resort’s rooms during the probe, including the one in which the receptionist lived. All evidence was collected before the demolition. Our charge sheet will ensure the strictest possible action against the accused.”

DGP Shares Call With the Victim's Father

On Saturday, 24 August, DGP Ashok Kumar went one step further in reassuring the family of the victim, saying that "justice" will be done and even promising the father that the accused will be hanged.

Alongside, he requested the father, to keep the situation calm.

“We are trying our best. What else can we do?" the DGP asked the father.

When asked about the revenue official, the DGP said that he was suspended the previous night.

Answering questions about the demolished resort, DGP Kumar stated that an SIT has been formed, and that "the evidence is not going anywhere."

"I promise our case will be strong and we will get them death penalty," the DGP said, adding, “I only request you to not let people disturb the harmony, because that doesn’t help but creates problems."

Kumar then told the victim's father to stay in touch if there seemed any lags from the police.

(With inputs from PTI and NDTV.)

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