Sonali Phogat 'murder' case: Curlies bar owner Edwin Nunes' bail rejected, sent to 5-day police custody with two others

Separately, the Goa Police arrested one more drug peddler in connection with the case of the alleged murder of Phogat, an official said earlier on Sunday

AgenciesUpdated: Sunday, August 28, 2022, 01:27 PM IST
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Late BJP leader and actress Sonali Phogat | File

Panaji: A court in Goa has remanded three accused - Edwin Nunes, owner of Curlies, drug peddler Rama Mandrekar and Dattaprasad Gaonkar - to five-day police custody on Sunday, in connection with the alleged murder of BJP leader and actress Sonali Phogat, on Sunday.

Nunes's bail application has been rejected by the Goa court.

Separately, the Goa Police arrested one more drug peddler in connection with the case of the alleged murder of Phogat, an official said earlier on Sunday.

With this, five people have so far been arrested in the case.

Phogat (43), a former Tik Tok star and contestant on the reality TV show "Big Boss", was brought dead to a hospital August 23, a day after arrival in Goa.

On Saturday night, the Anjuna police in North Goa district arrested drug peddler Rama alias Ramadas Mandrekar for allegedly supplying drugs to another peddler Dattaprasad Gaonkar, who is already in custody in connection with the case, the official said.

Gaonkar had allegedly supplied drugs to two other accused Sudhir Sagwan and Sukhwinder Singh, who accompanied Phogat on the Goa trip, police earlier said.

Phogat given methamphetamine, say Goa Police

The Goa Police on Saturday said Phogat was given methamphetamine, a recreational drug, by her aides hours before her death.

Gaonkar had allegedly provided drugs to Phogat's aides Sagwan and Singh who fed them to her, police earlier said.

Edwin Nunes, the other arrested man, is the owner of the Curlies restaurant in North Goa where Phogat and her aides had partied on the intervening night of August 22 and 23.

Phogat was administered methamphetamine, and some left-over drug was recovered from the restaurant's washroom, Deputy Superintendent of Police Jivba Dalvi had said.

Sagwan and Sukhwinder Singh allegedly told police that they had procured drugs from Gaonkar who worked as a room boy at Hotel Grand Leoney Resort in Anjuna where they were staying.

While Singh and Sagwan are charged with murder, Nunes and Gaonkar are booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

CCTV footage paints disturbing picture

Videos of CCTV footage from the restaurant had emerged on social media on Saturday. In one video, Phogat is seen dancing with Sagwan and the latter is seen forcing her to drink water which she instantly spits out.

Another video showed Phogat being escorted out of the restaurant by the accused. She is seen staggering and almost falling near the staircase on her way out.

Phogat was brought dead to St Anthony Hospital at Anjuna in North Goa district on August 23 morning from the hotel where she was staying.

While doctors said Phogat had a heart attack, her brother alleged that Sagwan and Singh, who had arrived in Goa with her, had played a role in her death.

A local court on Saturday remanded Sagwan and Singh in police custody for 10 days.

Family meets Haryana CM, demands CBI action

Meanwhile, the family of Sonali Phogat have met Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar here and sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into her death.

Her daughter Yashodhara appealed to the public to respect the privacy of the aggrieved family and not to project her slain mother in a bad light.

The family met the Chief Minister at his residence late Saturday.

The Chief Minister assured all possible help to the family of Phogat. He assured them that he had already spoken to the Goa Chief Minister about the incident, a senior official in the Chief Minister's Office told IANS on Sunday.

"The Chief Minister assured them that the Haryana government will write a letter to the Goa government about the CBI inquiry," he added.

After meeting the Chief Minister, an emotional Yashodhara appealed to the media not to portray her mother in bad taste.

She demanded that those responsible for her mother's death be brought to justice.

Earlier, victim's brother Rinku Dhaka said the motive behind the murder could be property and money.

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 actors or film shoots. 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.

(with inputs from agencies)

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