The ruling Shiv Sena is on a backfoot after its estranged ally BJP has demanded the arrest of the party minister Sanjay Rathod in connection with the suicide committed by Tik Tok star Pooja Chavan. BJP has called for a thorough investigation into the case and Rathod’s removal.
BJP has demanded that the police should file an offence against Rathod for culpable homicide.
The matter surfaced after several purported audio clips concerning the incident went viral. Incidentally, Rathod, who is a four-time legislator of Shiv Sena and comes from the Banjara community. He has not been reachable. The party has directed its leaders not to make any comment.
However, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who is personally keeping an eye on the case on Saturday, broke his silence. ‘’A probe is underway into the case and the truth will emerge after the investigation is complete,’’ he said. He further added that the suicide case will be thoroughly investigated and necessary action will be taken against the concerned. Thackeray has reportedly sought a report from Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta.
Thackeray has thereby hinted that Rathod will not be axed or made a sacrificial lamb before the investigation is complete. “There will be no attempt to hide the truth. Whatever the truth, it will be revealed to the public through a thorough investigation,’’ he said.
Rathod, who is not reachable, has sought appointment with the CM to put his side of the story but the latter has not given him time. Pooja’s brother-in-law has claimed he did not think Rathod was responsible for her suicide. The Banjara community leaders and various organisations have alleged that it was a conspiracy to defame Rathod and the community in general.
Thackeray’s close confidante and urban development minister Eknath Shinde came to Rathod’s defence saying that it was not proper to drag a minister's name before the police investigation is completed. Higher and technical education minister Uday Samant said it would be improper to comment since the CM has asked for a police report.
The National Commission of Women in letter to the Maharashtra Director General of Police has called for an inquiry into the incident and submit a report to it.
Chavan, who hailed from Beed district, had gone to Pune a week before her death last week. She was attending an English-speaking course and was living with two youth, said to be her brother and his friend. She allegedly committed suicide by jumping off in Wanawadi on February 8. The Wanawadi Police had registered an accidental death case and are scanning her social media audio messages.