Fadnavis targets MVA govt. over Pune woman’s suicide

The alleged suicide of a 23-year-old woman in Pune has turned into a political slanging match between the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government.

On Sunday, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis took aim at Mr. Thackeray and the MVA, alleging that the Maharashtra police were under political pressure in probing the death in Pune.

The deceased, who hailed from Parli in Beed district, belonged to the nomadic tribal Banjara community and had come to pursue her studies in Pune. She is suspected to have died after jumping from the first floor of a building in the city’s Mohammadwadi area in the early hours of February 7.

Mr. Fadnavis attributed the police’s tardiness in lodging a case to State Forest Minister and Sena leader Sanjay Rathod’s alleged involvement in the case. “The police should ideally have conducted a suo motu investigation. But, it appears that they are under some kind of political pressure. Ideally, the police ought to have filed a case by now and begun the investigation,” he said.

Hinting at Mr. Rathod’s probable involvement, he said it must be probed whose voice was featured in a series of audio clips allegedly linked to the case.

Mr. Fadnavis, who had earlier written to the Maharashtra Director General of Police in a bid to urge him to conduct a comprehensive probe, alleged that Mr. Thackeray did not appear to be taking the case seriously. “The police must be allowed to get to the bottom of this case to uncover whether the woman’s alleged suicide was a case of abetment or something else. Unfortunately, either the Chief Minister is not taking this seriously or he has not obtained complete information. I urge him to do so without delay,” he said.

Responding to the Opposition’s allegations, Shiv Sena spokesman and MP Sanjay Raut said Mr. Thackeray was a sensitive person who would ensure that justice was done in the case. He said, “Mr. Thackeray gave instructions for a probe the moment this matter came up. But in the last few years, there has been an increasing trend of character assassination and defaming a person before any conclusive evidence comes to light.”

“Some people think that by indulging in such tactics, they can harm the government. However, nothing of the kind will happen,” he said, speaking in Nashik. He said Mr. Rathod had been a pillar of the Sena in the Vidarbha region, and would be probed. However, it would not be conducted in a way the Opposition wanted it.

Senior Congress leader and State Minister Balasaheb Thorat defended Mr. Thackeray and dismissed allegations of the police being under any political pressure.

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