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Maharashtra forest minister resigns after BJP links him in a suicide case

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Mumbai: Maharashtra Forest Minister Sanjay Rathod quits from the office after the opposition BJP levells accusations against him over a 23-year-old woman’s alleged suicide in Pune.

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“I have submitted my resignation to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Since I have been accused of being linked to the woman’s death, maligned, I don’t think I should continue on this post…I will appeal (to the authorities) that a swift investigation should be conducted in this matter so that the truth comes out,” he said.

As per police report, a woman named Pooja Chavan, native of Maharashtra’s Beed district, had been living in Pune with her brother and his friends to pursue an English-speaking course. But on February 8 the 22-year-old TikTok star allegedly committed suicide by jumping off the Heaven Park building in Pune’s Wanawadi area.

Meanwhile, two days after her death, an audio clip went viral on the internet in which two men were talking about her death. The BJP claims one of the men in the audio clip is four-time Shiv Sena MLA from Yavatmal and Banjara community leader, Mr Rathod.

However, the Shiv Sena leader has denied the charge but the opposition party BJP had been demanding his resignation from the post.

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“Minister with serious allegations in Pooja Chavan suicide case should resign! The BJP protested against this by burning a statue of Sanjay Rathore in Beed district,” BJP Maharashtra tweeted last week.

Furthermore, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had also hit out at the state government over the death.

“There is ample evidence against Sanjay Rathod but nothing is happening. If media reports had not come out, nothing would have happened. Are we heading towards a banana republic? The police are under pressure. First, there has to be an investigation on the police itself,” Mr Fadnavis said last week.

The BJP’s women’s wing staged a demonstration against Mr Rathod last week, though, the deceased’s family has not filed a complaint over her death.

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