Ankita Bhandari’s case: One year passed, parents still seeking Justice

Ankita Bhandari, a receptionist at Vanantra Resort in Ganga-Bhogpur, Pauri District, Uttarakhand, was murdered on September 18, 2022, by Pulkit Arya, the son of BJP leader Vinod Arya and owner of the resort. Arya was assisted by Saurabh Bhaskar and Ankit Gupta.

What Exactly Happened?

On September 18, Ankita Bhandari, a receptionist at Vanantra Resort in Uttarakhand, went missing. Her parents tried to call her and locate her in her room, but were unable to find her. Ankita had previously told her friend Pushap Deep that she was being pressured to provide “extra service” to a VIP for Rs. 10000. Deep became suspicious when she did not respond to his calls.

Ankita’s father registered a missing complaint in the Revenue police area, but no action was taken for two days. The case was then transferred to the Laxman Jhula police, who arrested the three accused: Pulkit Arya (the key accused), the hotel’s manager Ankit Gupta, and Pulkit’s friend Saurabh Bhaskar.

During interrogation, the three confessed to their crime. They said that after Pulkit had a heated conversation with Ankita, they all went to a nearby location to resolve the issue. On the way, they had an altercation with Ankita and pushed her into the Chilla canal. They then returned to the hotel and told a different story to their staff.

Ankita’s dead body was recovered by the State Disaster Response Force of the Uttarakhand police on September 24, 2022. Her preliminary autopsy revealed that she had sustained blunt force trauma before her death. The cause of death was drowning.


The resort where Ankita Bhandari was murdered was bulldozed and torched by unknown persons on the same night, causing significant damage. The government initially stated that this was swift justice, but the District Magistrate later denied that the government was involved.

Ankita’s family was unhappy with the postmortem report and said that they would not perform her last rites until the final autopsy report was released to the public. They also accused the administration of destroying evidence by bulldozing the resort.

After several appeals from the local administration and the Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, Pushkar Singh Dhami, Ankita’s family agreed to perform her last rites. Dhami called the incident “unfortunate” and assured the family that the trial would be held in a fast-track court and that the accused would receive the strictest possible punishment.

Ankita’s last rites were performed by her family members at the NIT Ghat of Srinagar on September 25, 2022. A large number of people attended the funeral, including many prominent politicians from the state, such as Tirath Singh Rawat, a sitting Member of Parliament and former Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, and Rajendra Bhandari, Congress MLA from Badrinath.

The police established a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate the case. However, groups of locals on social media and the victim’s father petitioned the High Court to have the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigate the case. The police filed a 500-page chargesheet against the three accused in December 2022. In May 2023, Ankita’s parents and some social workers claimed that Ankita was raped by Saurabh Bhaskar before her murder.

The case is still pending before the Court and Ankita’s parents are still seeking Justice for the deceased daughter.

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