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Rishikesh resort receptionist died due to drowning: autopsy

Resort owner Pulkit Arya, son of former Uttarakhand BJP Minister Vinod Arya, and two other employees have been arrested. A mob of villagers set fire to the resort on Saturday after the body was fished out from the Ganga.

DEHRADUN, Sept 24:The report of the post-mortem examination conducted on the body of Ankita Bhandari, a girl receptionist at Vanatara resort in Rishikesh who was reported missing since September 18, was released on Saturday evening. The body was recovered from Chilla barrage in the Ganga in the morning. The autopsy was done at the AIIMS Rishikesh.

The report has stated that Ankita Bhandari's cause of death was asphyxia due to drowning. It said there were findings of injuries on the body occurred before death, suggestive of blunt force trauma.

The body has been handed over to her family.

Meanwhile, the resort, owned by Pulkit Arya, former BJP Minister Vinod Arya's son, was set on fire on Saturday by an irate mob, a channel reported.

The Uttarakhand State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel, who had launched the search operation on Friday afternoon, fished out the body from the canal on Saturday morning.

The search followed the arrest of Pulkit Arya and two other resort employees, Saurabh Bhaskar, 35, and Ankit Gupta, 19, and their interrogation. They all hail from Jwalapur in Haridwar district. They were detained earlier after it was reported that the girl had gone missing.

The accused reportedly confessed to the police that Ankita Bhandari was pushed into the barrage on the night of September 18. Following the confession, on Friday afternoon the SDRF had started the search.

BJP leader Vinod Arya belongs to Haridwar. He was formerly a chairman of the Uttarakhand Mati Kala Board.

Ankita Bhandari, who belonged to Srikot Khanda village in Srinagar in Pauri Garhwal, was allegedly pushed into the Ganga by Pulkit Arya and two resort employees for "refusing to indulge in prostitution with the hotel guests," it has emerged from a communication she had sent to her friend via WhatsApp days before her disappearance.

Her two mobile phones had call records showing last location as AIIMS Rishikesh and Raiwala at 8 pm, September 18. According to police sources, she was taken from the resort on a bike by Pulkit Arya, with the other two on another bike, and following an argument she was pushed into the river at Chilla barrage, not far from AIIMS Rishikesh, around 8:30 pm.

Ankita Bhandari had joined the resort on August 28 for a salary of Rs 10,000

Her father Virendra Bhandari, a resident of Srikot Khanda village in Srinagar tehsil in Pauri Garhwal district, it is alleged, had to seek help from higher authorities to get an FIR filed after her daughter went missing on the night of September 18.

The girl went missing on September 18, but the police registered the FIR on September 21.

The resort, built illegally in the Yamkeshwar block of Pauri district by the BJP leader's son, was demolished late Friday night, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said.

Vinod Arya was a Minister of State in the previous BJP Government headed by Trivendra Singh Rawat.

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