Mumbai/Pune, Feb 13 Mounting pressure on Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, senior BJP leaders on Saturday demanded the arrest of state cabinet minister Sanjay Rathod, whose name has cropped up vis-a-vis the death of 22-year-old TikTok star Pooja Chavan.
BJP leaders Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Kirit Somaiya and others have pointed fingers at state Forest Minister Sanjay Rathod, a four-time Shiv Sena MLA from Yavatmal, and a prominent leader of the Banjara community.
When questioned by mediapersons, Thackeray guardedly said that a probe is underway into the matter and the truth will emerge after the investigation is complete.
While Vikhe-Patil wanted to know what is the CM waiting for, Somaiya said Rathod should not only be sacked from the cabinet, but also be arrested immediately.
While Thackeray is understood to have sought a report from Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta, Rathod remained incommunicado during the day, fuelling speculation on his fate.
On Friday, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis had shot off a letter to the Director-General of Police, Hemant Nagrale, for a probe into the matter besides submitting 14 purported audio-clips that may be linked to Chavan's death.
While state minister Eknath Shinde said it was not proper to drag a minister's name before the police investigations are completed, another minister Uday Samant said it would be improper to comment since the CM has asked for a police report.
Chavan, hailing 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 the Heaven Park building in Wanawadi area in Pune on February 8.
The Wanawadi Police registered an accidental death case and though they have ruled out anything suspicious about her death, her social media audio-messages are being scanned following the political uproar.
The matter came to a boil in the past three days after several purported audio clips concerning the incident went viral, leading to a political tirade by the BJP directed at the MVA dispensation.
( With inputs from IANS )
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