Chargesheet to be Filed by Goa Police in Sonali Phogat Case
Sonali Phogat (42), an Indian actor and a famous BJP leader, was pronounced dead on August 23 at the St Anthony Hospital in Anjuna, North Goa. Earlier it was appearing as natural death due to cardiac arrest, but later, on the complaint filed by the members of the Sonali’s family, the police investigation gave a new twist to the case and assumed it as planned murder case.
Two suspects Sudhir Sangwan and Sukhwinder Wasi, who were also the personal assistants of Sonali phogat were arrested by the Goa police. She was taken to a restaurant in Goa named ‘Curlies’ by her assistants where she fell unconscious after having the food.
Further investigations revealed many twists and turns in the cases. Goa police confirmed on 27 August that before her death, Sonali was made to administer the methamphetamine drugs forcefully by her assistants.
The police found two CCTV footage of Sonali Phogat at the restaurant. The videos of the CCTV footage from Curlies restaurant at Anjuna are going viral on social media. In one of the videos, Phogat can be seen dancing with one of the arrested accused Sudhir Sangwan.
Sonali is seen sporting a tiara with LED lights on her head. The video also shows Sangwan forcing her to drink water, which she instantly spat out. Another video shows Phogat being escorted out of the restaurant by the accused. In the footage, she is seen staggering and almost falling near the staircase on her way out of the restaurant.
The involvement of drugs has directed it towards an illegal drug supply case. Three people were booked by the Goa police under the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substance Act, which includes the owner of the ‘Curlies’ restaurant Edwin Nunes and two drug peddlers- Rama Mandrekar and Dattaprasad Gaonkar.
The special narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances (NDPS) court sent the three suspects to seven days judicial custody in connection with the murder of BJP leader Sonali Phogat after their police remand ended on 02 September 2022.
The Goa police had first arrested Gaonkar and later Nunes for allegedly facilitating the circumstances that led to the death of Sonali Phogat. They have, however, not been named as accused in the murder of Phogat. The trio who are accused of procuring the methamphetamine had also applied for bail, which was heard on September 6.
Phogat’s brother, Vatan Dhaka informed that he received a call from Goa Police for another search of their Sant Nagar apartment in Hisar, where they had spent nearly three hours on 02 September 2022. “They (police) had locked Sonali Phogat’s locker and taken her three diaries with them,” he added.
Aman Punia, Phogat’s brother-in-law, also said that the electronic locker had been sealed after it could not be opened. Meanwhile, a confidential report on the Sonali Phogat murder case had already been sent to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Goa CM Pramod Sawant has said, adding that a chargesheet would be filed shortly.
Amid the ongoing stir in the Sonali Phogat’s death case, the North Goa SP Shobit Saxena said “It is being reviewed at senior levels. We’re confident of filing a chargesheet on objective grounds after remand. Will ensure nothing is left out of the investigation”. He further added “Goa police has zero tolerance towards illicit drug-related activities, and has recorded seizures of illegal drugs in the past few years. Action to be taken against those who supply, consume, stock or allow their premises to be used for drug consumption”.
Saxena said the police team that had gone to Haryana to investigate the case has returned and the information is now being analysed. “Three investigating officers are analysing the investigation of this case. It is being reviewed at the senior level. We are in a good place with regard to the investigation and we are confident of filing a chargesheet,” he said.
However the family members of Sonali Phogat have demanded a CBI investigation probe for the case. But the Goa DGP Jaspal Singh said that the state police can end the case logically. Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said thatThe Goa Police are conducting an in-depth investigation into Phogat’s case. But the opposition parties in Goa, believe the CBI should handle the case.
Earlier, the Supreme Court stayed the demolition of Curlies restaurant in Goa soon after its demolition began on Friday, 09 September, on the condition that no commercial activities will take place there.
The demolition action against the restaurant began after its owner failed to get any respite from the National Green Tribunal (NGT). On Thursday, NGT upheld the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority’s previous order to demolish the shack.
Owner Edwin Nunes of the ‘Curlies’ restaurant, located on Goa’s famous Anjuna beach, on Thursday, 08 September, was granted conditional bail against a personal bail bond of ₹ 30,000 and two sureties of ₹ 15,000 each.
Meanwhile, Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) has ordered the closure of all commercial activity in the form of nightclubs, bars and restaurants being run by Edwin Nunes and Linet Nunes, both Curlies Restaurant and Night Club and guest house, St Michael Wado, Dando, Anjuna, Bardez-Goa.