Pooja Chavan case: Sena minister Sanjay Rathod resigns

Pooja Chavan death case: Shiv Sena minister Sanjay Rathod resigns

Rathod’s name had cropped up after the death of a social media star Pooja Chavan in Pune

Amid mounting pressure and fierce attack from the BJP, forest minister Sanjay Rathod, whose name has cropped up in the wake of the mysterious death of social media star Pooja Chavan, on Sunday tendered his resignation on the eve of the Budget Session of Maharashtra Legislature.

Rathod (49), a prominent leader of the Banjara community, accompanied by his wife Shital, called on Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray at the latter’s official residence Varsha and put in his papers.

“I have resigned...let there be a thorough probe, the allegations against me are politically motivated,” said Rathod.

Read | BJP steps up demand for Sanjay Rathod’s resignation 

Asked whether the resignation has been accepted, Thackeray said, “You tell me what needs to be done....do we frame and keep the resignation letter.”

During the day, Puja Chavan’s father Lahu Chavan, her mother Mandodari Chavan and sister Devyani called on the Chief Minister.

In the evening at the customary news conference, Thackeray asked Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anil Parab to read out the resignation letter of Rathod and the memorandum by Pooja’s parents.

Rathod, in the letter, has sought a detailed probe into the death of the girl and said he would like to step aside to facilitate a proper probe. 

Pooja’s parents had requested not to accept the resignation of Rathod, however, take action against him or anyone else found responsible for her death.

Read | BJP welcomes resignation of Sanjay Rathod 

Taking an aggressive stance, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis threatened to withdraw BJP legislators from the joint select committee of the Shakti Bill, which is being brought on lines of the Disha Act proposing crucial changes to existing laws on violence against women and children.

“Sanjay Rathod resigned...but that does not mean that he is innocent,” said Pravin Darekar, leader of opposition in Council.

Rathod’s name has cropped up after the 7-8 February death of a social media star Pooja Chavan in Pune.

Pooja (22), also from the Banjara community, hailed Parli Vaijanath from the Beed district of the Marathwada region, was active in social and community work.

Pooja died after falling from the balcony of an apartment in Pune’s Hadapsar area – the police have registered an accidental death report (ADR) and are carrying out investigations.

It may be recalled, days after the death of Pooja, Fadnavis had shot off a letter to the state’s director general of police Hemant Nagrale and submitted 12 audio clips vis-a-vis the incident and called for a probe.

Thackeray on his part had assured a probe, however, Rathod continued as a minister and a few days ago staged a massive show of strength at Poharadevi Temple in Washim district – an incident that saw all norms and protocols related to Covid-19 going for a toss.

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