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Next hearing on Narco test of accused in Ankita Bhandari case on 5 Jan


By Arun Pratap Singh

Kotdwar, 3 Jan: The case relating to conduct narco and polygraph tests of the three accused in the Ankita murder case was heard in the Court of Judicial Magistrate (First Class) here today. The court today fixed 5 January as the next date of hearing in the case after hearing the arguments of the prosecution and the defence. The court is expected to give its ruling on whether the narco and polygraph tests of the accused will be held or not.

Defence advocate Amit Sajwan informed media outside the court after the hearing that the hearing took place today but no decision had been taken as yet. The prosecution lawyer, Jitendra Singh Rawat, also confirmed the same and added that a final ruling is expected on 5 January regarding the tests on the accused.

It may be recalled that in the hearing on Narco and Polygraph tests held on 12 December, here, two of the three accused, namely Pulkit Arya and Saurabh, had given their consent while the third, Ankit, had sought ten days time to decide on consenting for the test. However, at the next hearing held on 22 December, the other accused also withdrew their consent. The defence lawyer of Ankit had sought to know why the narco test was required by the SIT in the case.

In today’s hearing, the prosecution lawyers argued before the court that it is necessary to conduct the tests on Pulkit, Saurabh and Ankit as they had hidden crucial information. They had not mentioned the name of the VIP guest who was supposed to visit the guest house. Also that Pulkit has so far not revealed anything about the whereabouts of his mobile phone, which could serve as crucial evidence in the case.

It may be recalled that after 86 days of deliberations, the SIT had submitted a 500-page chargesheet against the three accused in the Ankita Bhandari murder case. It is understood that the chargesheet mentions names of 100 witnesses and has more than 30 documentary evidences.

It may further be recalled that Ankita Bhandari, an employee of Vanantara Resorts owned by Pulkit Arya, had gone missing on 18 September last year. Although a complaint was registered by Ankita’s father, no action was taken by the Revenue Police for more than three days in the case which gave rise to huge public anger in the area. The case was then, on the directions of the government, transferred to the regular police. The police arrested the three accused on 22 September and, based on their inputs, recovered the body of Ankita Bhandari from the canal in Chilla on 24 September. This case has since become a major political and social issue in the state particularly because the main accused in the case, Pulkit Arya, has links with the ruling BJP. Pulkit’s father and brother have been since expelled from the BJP but the Opposition continues to raise the issue.

Congress and the victim’s family have been demanding a CBI inquiry into the case, but the Uttarakhand High Court rejected a petition demanding this and expressed satisfaction with the SIT investigation.