Maharashtra Forest Minister and Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Rathod, who is under attack from the opposition in connection with the mysterious death of a Tik Tok star Pooja Chavan, appeared before the people and the media on Tuesday and appealed not to defame him and the Banjara community. Rathod, who is a four-time legislator, said the Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has already ordered a probe and the truth will come out of it. Rathod denied any links with the death and also dismissed allegations against him.
Rathod, who in the presence of a large number of his supporters, visited a temple in Washim district, claimed ‘dirty politics’ was being played after the woman’s ‘unfortunate’ death. The minister further appealed not to put him in a wrong box and reiterated that a truth will come out after the ongoing probe.
Rathod hinted that he will not resign by succumbing to the opposition’s pressure, but declared that he will become again active in public life and in discharging his ministerial duties.
However, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) slammed the Maha Vikas Aghadi government and demanded Rathod’s removal from the cabinet. Opposition also pressed for a comprehensive probe into the woman’s death.
The 23-year-old woman died after falling from a building in Hadapsar, Pune, on February 8.
Rathod, with his wife, travelled by road from his residence in Yavatmal to Pohradevi Temple in Washim district, sought blessings and took part in the rituals. Thereafter, Rathod, in his maiden interaction with the media, said he and the Banjara community, to which he belongs, are pained by the woman’s death and share her family’s grief. He further noted that his family and the community should not be defamed in this regard.
“The death of Pooja Chavan, who belonged to the Banjara community, was unfortunate. The entire community is pained by her death. Me and our entire community is part of the Chavan family’s grief,” said Rathod. However, he added that the kind of politics played after the incident was wrong and baseless.
“There is no substance in what is being said in the media and on social media,” said Rathod. “I urge you not to defame me, my family and my community. Let us wait for the probe report,” he added.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray took a serious note of the gathering at the Poharadevi temple and directed the district and police administration to immediately take action against the concerned for flouting COVID-19 norms.