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Sonali Phogat was given ‘obnoxious’ chemical: police

Phogat's family have alleged that she could possibly have been murdered in an attempt to grab her property.

Yashodhra, daughter of Haryana BJP leader Sonali Phogat, along with others, carries the mortal remains of her mother during the funeral procession, at Rishi Nagar in Hisar district, Aug. 26, 2022. (PTI)

The Goa Police on Friday arrested two people in connection with the death of Haryana BJP leader and actor Sonali Phogat. Police said the accused, Sudhir Sangvan and Sukhwinder Singh, “intentionally gave the victim an obnoxious chemical substance in a liquid” hours before she died on Tuesday morning.

Phogat’s family have alleged that she could possibly have been murdered in an attempt to grab her property. She had assets worth around Rs 2.74 crore, according to her 2019 election affidavit. On Friday, Inspector General of Police Omvir Singh Bishnoi said: “Based on witness statements (and) CCTV footage, it was seen that Sudhir and Sukhwinder partied with the deceased and videos show that a substance was forcefully given to the victim by one of the accused. When confronted, Sukhwinder and Sudhir confessed that they intentionally gave her an obnoxious chemical in a liquid and made her drink it. Then she lost control and she was looked after (by the accused)…”

Police had registered an offence of murder on Thursday following a complaint filed by Phogat’s brother Rinku Dhaka, who accused Sudhir, Phogat’s personal assistant, and Sukhwinder, his aide, of murder. The duo was detained on Thursday. Bishnoi said on Friday that the two had now been placed under arrest and would be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours.

Phogat’s family said Sudhir was possibly just a “front man” and there could be a larger political conspiracy behind her death.

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In his complaint, Rinku said Sudhir of Rohtak and Sukhwinder of Bhiwani met Phogat during her 2019 Assembly poll campaign.

“In 2021, a theft took place at her residence… After that, Sudhir terminated her cook’s services and started taking care of her meals himself. Three months ago, Sonali called and told me that Sudhir had served her kheer after eating which she started shivering and her limbs stopped working. I questioned Sudhir, but he gave me an evasive reply,” Rinku said, adding that Sudhir used to take care of Phogat’s finances and paperwork.

Talking to The Indian Express, Rinku added, “We suspect that Sudhir and Sukhwinder murdered Sonali to grab her property. When we reached Goa, we asked him about her articles, including her wallet, ATM cards etc. He said they came to Delhi in a car that was parked in a flat in Gurgaon. We asked him about the flat’s keys to which he said those were in the car and when we asked him about the car’s keys, he refused to give it and went away”.

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The IGP said at 4.40 am, after the “obnoxious chemical” was given to her, the accused took her to the bathroom where she spent two hours and they have given no explanation for this.

First published on: 26-08-2022 at 03:35:53 pm
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