New Delhi / Panaji:
In the murder case of actress and BJP leader Sonali Phogat, two more people were arrested, including a drug dealer and owner of a Goa restaurant where she was seen partying the night before her death.
This brings the total number of arrests in the case of the death of a BJP leader in Haryana to four. The arrests of Edwin Nunes, owner of Curlie’s restaurant, and drug dealer Dattaprasad Gaonkar come a day after the arrests of two of her accomplices, Sudhir Sangwan and Sukhwinder Singh.
Quoting an unnamed officer, the PTI news agency reported that Sanjuan and Singh “confessed” to the police that they had bought drugs from Gonkar.
Police have so far questioned more than 25 people in the case, including staff at the restaurant, the resort where Fogat was staying, the hospital where she was pronounced dead, and her driver.
Citing security camera footage and purported confessions, police said yesterday that Phogat was at the popular restaurant and nightclub on Anjuna Beach on Monday where she was forced to drink a “hateful substance” mixed with water by Sanjuan and Singh.
She “felt very uncomfortable” and could barely walk on her own after drinking it, and her colleagues took her to the hotel, the Grand Leone, where they were staying. The BJP leader was taken to St Anthony’s Hospital the next morning where she was pronounced dead.
“The CCTV recordings of the relevant premises were examined by the investigating officer and it was found that Sudhir was forcing Sonali to drink the alleged liquid in a water bottle,” the police said in a statement.
Security camera footage that emerged yesterday shows the former Bigg Boss contestant leaving the restaurant with Sangwan unable to walk.
Phogat’s death was initially seen as a case of heart attack, but a murder case was registered by Goa police after her family demanded a thorough investigation and intervention by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar. Her family also alleged that she was raped, but the police have yet to press the charges.
Police said Sanjuan and Singh were arrested Thursday night so that they could not destroy evidence.
Foggt’s autopsy report on Thursday revealed “multiple blunt force injuries to her body” and that police should investigate the cause of her death. Police said yesterday that only after examining the viscera can the cause of her death be confirmed.
The brother of BJP leader Rinku Dhaka claimed that her comrades intended to seize her “property and financial assets” and “end her political life”.
Sonali Phogat, who has been with the BJP since 2008, ran for the 2019 Haryana Assembly elections but lost.