Nine days on, no end to mystery behind Sonali Phogat’s death in Goa

Police teams from Goa and Haryana are still conducting investigations to get to the bottom of the matter. So far, three persons have been detained, including two who accompanied her to Goa

Nine days on, no end to mystery behind Sonali Phogat’s death in Goa

Aditya Anand

It’s been nine days since Sonali Phogat was pronounced dead at St. Anthony Hospital in Anjuna in North Goa, but there is no clarity yet about what actually transpired and the sequence of events.

The police initially maintained that ‘no foul play was suspected’. Later, it said she had been ‘drugged with an obnoxious chemical’.

As per the post-mortem report, ‘blunt force trauma’ was the cause of her death.

Phogat (42), a BJP leader from Hisar, Haryana, who gained fame as a contestant in the television show 'Big Boss' and was a former Tik Tok star, died on August 23, just a day after arriving in the coastal state of Goa along with two male associates.

Her family alleged foul play, rape, and murder, and also alleged theft of a DVR connected to the CCTV system, a cellphone and a laptop containing important documents from her Hissar farmhouse around the same time. The Goa Police subsequently initiated a murder investigation and submitted a preliminary report to the state government on its findings.

As per a media briefing by Goa CM Pramod Sawant, a copy of the report has also been sent to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, who has been demanding a CBI probe into the event at the insistence of the deceased’s family.

Goa Government is, however, under pressure from various quarters within Goa to let the local police continue with its investigation.

Meanwhile, Sonali Phogat's family claims it is being kept in the dark about developments in the police probe.

Anjuna Police went on to arrest two of Phogat’s associates, Sudhir Sangwan and Sukhwinder Singh. Evidence of their involvement in offering ‘an alleged spiked substance’ to the deceased includes CCTV footage from Curlies, a private shack at Anjuna, where Phogat is seen unable to stand properly and being helped by the accused to do so.

Phogat’s family has been insisting there was a 'conspiracy' behind her death even before the police acknowledged foul play could be involved. In its latest allegation, it brought up the issue of a lease agreement related to a farmhouse in Hisar.

Haryana Police, meanwhile, has detained a person named Shivam, said to be an acquaintance of Sudhir Sangwan, on suspicion of lifting computer-related items from Sonali Phogat's house, claiming that it has recovered all such equipment from him.

A police team from Goa visited Phogat's farmhouse as well as the Sadar police station in Hisar. A team had also gone there following the theft allegations made by her family members.

The deceased’s family have said that Sudhir Sangwan had sought to lease an entire farmhouse for just Rs 5,000 per month. They claim that Sonali Phogat did not go to the collectorate to ink an agreement despite his attempts to elicit her signature three times.

The Goa and Hisar police teams are expected to examine this matter as well.

A Goa Police team visited Sonali Phogat's Sant Nagar home in Hisar on Thursday and later met revenue officials as part of their investigation into the alleged murder of the BJP leader.

The police team had arrived here Wednesday and family members of Phogat were present when they went to her house, which was closed for the past several days.

Later in the day, the police team met revenue officials.

Sources said the Goa Police is also assessing the property, including land, which is in her name and trying to find out if there is any property angle involved in the case.

With PTI inputs

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