Motive for Sonali’s murder could be property: Victim’s brother

The motive behind the murder of Haryana BJP leader Sonali Phogat, who died under mysterious circumstances in Goa, could be property and money, victim’s brother Rinku Dhaka said on Saturday.

But he said his family is “satisfied” with the police investigation into her death in Goa.

“After I reached Goa on August 23, I called up Sudhir to understand what happened. He told me that he was in the hotel room and the body was in the Goa Medical College,” Dhaka told the media.

“If you want to see the body, go there and if you have any work with me, meet me in the hotel. After seeing the body, I went to the police station following which Inspector Desai accompanied me to the hotel where Sudhir was staying. The inspector did all the talking with him.”

The actress was taken to Goa on the pretext of a film shoot. “I didn’t see any actor or film shoot. There was no one apart from Sudhir and Sukhwinder Singh.”

Dhaka was categorically clear in saying that the motive behind the murder could be property and money. He even blamed Sudhir for the theft in Sonali’s house.

Last year TikTok star Phogat had reported theft of jewellery, a licenced revolver, Rs 10 lakh cash and valuables from her house in Hisar town.

Sonali’s brother-in-law, Kuldeep Phogat, said she was given poison and was locked in a washroom. “They hit her and there are bruises.”

The last rites of Sonali, were held on Friday even as a large number of people turned up to pay their last respects. Phogat’s teenage daughter Yashodhara lit the funeral pyre.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar has said if BJP leader Phogat’s family wants a CBI probe into her death, it will be considered. “If the family gives in writing, we will take the issue further,” Khattar has said.

Phogat, who had landed in a controversy for allegedly beating up an official with her slipper, had unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Assembly elections from Mandi Adampur, losing to Congress candidate Kuldeep Bishnoi, the son of former Haryana Chief Minister Bhajan Lal.

Bishnoi this month joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) along with his wife, Renuka, who was also in the Congress.

The Goa police have so far arrested four persons in connection with her murder.

On Saturday, a drug peddler and a restaurant owner were arrested.

“Drug peddler Dattaprasad Gaonkar and restaurant owner Edwin Nunes were arrested today,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Jivba Dalvi told IANS.

Police sources said Gaonkar, who had allegedly supplied drugs to the accused persons arrested earlier, was detained on Saturday morning for questioning.

Later, he and Edwin Nunes, owner of Curlies restaurant in Anjuna, where Sonali Phogat had partied before her death, was also arrested.

A court in Goa on Saturday granted a 10-day police custody of Sudhir Sangwan (PA of Phogat) and Sukhwinder Singh, the two accused persons earlier arrested in the murder case.

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