Actor and BJP leader Sonali Phogat was forcibly made to drink “some obnoxious substance” mixed in water by her two associates while partying at a restaurant-cum-nightclub in Goa, the police have said, citing security camera footage and alleged confessions. She “felt uneasy” after it, was taken to the hotel where all of them were staying, and then brought dead to a hospital the next morning.
Police said that Sudhir Sangwan and Sukhwinder Singh, the two associates accused of murdering the Bigg Boss contestant Sonali Phogat, were arrested last evening so that they could not destroy the evidence. “CCTV recordings of relevant premises were examined by the Investigating Officer and it was found that Sudhir was forcefully making Sonali to drink the alleged liquid in a water bottle,” the police statement read, before they left for the hotel, Grand Leonny.
The alleged spiking of the drink happened when Sonali Phogat, 42, was with the two men at a popular party joint, Curlie’s Restaurant, last Monday night. When she was brought dead to St Anthony’s Hospital in Anjuna, North Goa, the next morning, it was initially seen as a case of heart attack. But her family sensed something amiss and demanded a thorough probe.
After Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar intervened as well, police eventually filed a murder case and, in her post-mortem report yesterday, it came to light that “there are multiple blunt force injuries over the body”. The report said police need to investigate the cause of death.
Police today said finding the cause “would take a while… only after chemical examination of viscera” and other tests.
Haryana Chief Minister Khattar had yesterday said that the viscera would be examined at a state facility in Chandigarh too, besides in Goa, as per the family’s demand.
He also said he is open to handing the case over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
The family has alleged rape as well, but police in Goa haven’t yet pressed those charges, pending further investigation.
Her brother, Rinku Dhaka, says the killers had the “intention to take over her properties and financial assets and to finish her political career”.
With the BJP since 2008, Sonali Phogat had contested the 2019 assembly polls but lost. He husband Sanjay Phogat, who died five years ago, had been active in social and political circles. She has a teenaged daughter.