The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has ousted Vinod Arya and Ankit Arya, the father and brother of main suspect Pulkit Arya, in connection with the killing of Ankita Bhandari, a 19-year-old receptionist.

Both politicians have been immediately suspended from the party.

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“Ankit Arya, the brother of main accused Pulkit Arya and son of BJP leader Vinod Arya, relieved by the Uttarakhand government from the post of Deputy Chairman of the Uttarakhand Other Backward Classes Commission,” the Uttarakhand BJP stated in its order.

Uttrakhand Police arrested three people on Friday, which include Pulkit Arya, the son of Vinod Arya, a former BJP minister in the state, on murder charges in the death of Ankita, a receptionist at a resort in Rishikesh. According to police, the three arrested suspects, including the manager of Pulkit Arya’s Vanatara Resort, admitted to pushing Ankita into a canal after a heated argument, and she drowned.

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The body of a 19-year-old man who went missing a few days ago was retrieved in the early hours of Saturday from the Chilla canal in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, according to the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF).

Bhandari was murdered by Arya and two other resort employees for refusing to engage in prostitution with resort guests.

As a result of the Ankita Bhandari murder case, residents protested against BJP MLA Renu Bisht and vandalised her car. Police escorted the MLA away.

Local residents set fire to the Vanatara resort in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand, after the body was discovered. Pulkit Arya, the son of BJP leader Vinod Arya, owns the resort.

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On the orders of state Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, the Vanatara Resort was torn down on Friday. According to Abhinav Kumar, Special Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister. According to him, the Uttarakhand Chief Minister has directed district magistrates to probe all resorts in the state.

In addition, the Chief Minister has directed that needful action be taken against unlawfully operating resorts.

According to Dhami, such crimes will be dealt with harshly. “It is unfortunate. Police are working, they have done their work for making the arrests. Strictest punishment would be given for such heinous crimes, whoever be the criminal,” he asserted.