Haridwar, Sep 23, 2022: Senior BJP leader Vinod Arya’s son, Pulkit Arya, has been arrested for the murder of a 19-year-old woman from Pauri-Garhwal who worked at a resort he owns near Rishikesh in Haridwar 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 as the accused’s father belongs to the state’s ruling party.
State police chief Ashok Kumar explained, "The initial FIR was lodged by the resort owner (Pulkit Arya) and the woman’s family. In Uttarakhand, we have a system of the patwari (land revenue official) registering FIRs. That’s where it was registered as the area doesn’t fall under regular police stations. "
Addressing allegations of delay in action, he said, "Once the case was transferred to us, we worked it out within 24 hours - the resort owner turned out to be accused. Further investigation is on."
Police were swift once the news went viral on social media with her family naming 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 potter community welfare.
Opposition Congress alleged inaction "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, "Now it turns out she has been killed. Till when will this brazen misuse of power by BJP and RSS leaders continue?"
Besides Pulkit Arya, resort manager Saurabh Bhaskar and assistant manager Ankit Gupta have been arrested, Pauri Additional Superintendent of Police Shekhar Chandra Suyal told news agency PTI. "Initially, they tried to mislead the police, but when interrogated sternly they confessed to the crime," the officer said.