Maha minister denies link to woman’s death, visits temple

Mumbai, Feb 23 (PTI):
Maharashtra Forest Minister Sanjay Rathod, who was not seen in public after his name was linked to the death of a woman in Pune, visited a temple in Washim district on Tuesday and later dismissed the allegations against him.
Talking to reporters after visiting the Pohradevi Temple in Washim, Rathod claimed “dirty politics” was being played following the woman’s “unfortunate” death.
The Shiv Sena leader also expressed confidence that truth will come out following a probe into the matter.
The opposition BJP in the state, however, demanded removal of Rathod as minister and a comprehensive probe into the woman’s death. The 23-year-old woman died after falling from a building in Hadapsar area of Pune on February 8.
Some social media posts and the BJP earlier alleged that Rathod was connected to the death of the woman. On Tuesday, the minister travelled by road from his residence in Yavatmal to the Pohradevi Temple in neighbouring Washim, where he sought blessings and took part in rituals.
A large number of Rathod’s supporters thronged the venue, in apparent violation of the social distancing norms.
Later, in a brief interaction with media, Rathod said he and the Banjara community, to which be belongs, are pained by the woman’s death and share her family’s grief.
The minister said his family and the community should not be defamed by latching on to the incident.
“The death of Puja Chavan, who belonged to our community, in Pune was unfortunate. The entire community is pained by the death. Me and our entire community is part of the Chavan family’s grief,” Rathod said.
But, the kind of politics that is being played following the incident is wrong and baseless, he said. “I can tell you that there is no substance in what is being said in the media and on social media,” said Rathod, who is also the guardian minister of Yavatmal.

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