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BJP seeks arrest of Maharashtra minister Sanjay Rathod

Last Updated : 17 August 2021, 07:06 IST

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Mounting pressure on the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, the opposition BJP on Saturday demanded the arrest of state’s forest minister Sanjay Rathod whose name has cropped up vis-a-vis the death of social media star Pooja Chavan.

A four-term Shiv Sena MLA from Yavatmal district, Rathod is a prominent leader of the Banjara community.

Hailing from Parli in Beed district, Pooja (23), a popular TikTok star, was staying in Pune and attending an English speaking course. She was staying in the Wanawadi area with her cousin brother and friend – and was found dead on 7 February night.

Initial reports from Pune said that she could have died by suicide.

“Sanjay Rathod should not be merely removed from Cabinet but he should be arrested immediately,” senior BJP leader Kirit Somaiya said.

He wanted to know whether Thackeray was awaiting a nod from NCP supremo Sharad Pawar.

Thackeray has called for a report from Pune Police chief Amitabh Gupta.

Meanwhile, Thackeray, when asked, said, "A thorough probe will be done and truth will come out before the people. The guilty will be punished but innocent need to suffer....truth will not be hidden."

Rathod remained incommunicado throughout the day, however, his official car was seen in Mantralaya, the state secretariat complex.

On Friday, leader of opposition Devendra Fadnavis shot off a letter to state’s director general of police Hemant Nagrale and demanded investigations into the incident and also submitted 12 audio clips – that may have relation with the incident.

The New Delhi-based National Commission for Women too has sought a report from the state government.

Senior Shiv Sena leader and Thackeray aide Eknath Shinde, who is the urban development minister, said: “What has happened is unfortunate, but we should not link anyone’s name without any proof...it is not proper for me to speak without proper details.”

When asked, state education minister Uday Samant of Shiv Sena said: “When the chief minister himself has sought a report...it is not at all proper for me to comment.”

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Published 13 February 2021, 14:01 IST

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