February 14, 2021 4:49:08 pm
As police in Pune probe the alleged suicide of 22-year-old Pooja Chavan, the case has become reason for a political fight in Maharashtra, with the Opposition demanding that the alleged role of a serving Shiv Sena minister be investigated.
A look at who was Pooja Chavan, her death and its aftermath.
Who was Pooja Chavan, and preliminary facts of her death
Pooja Chavan hailed from the temple town of Parli Vaijnath in Beed district of Maharashtra, and belonged to the nomadic tribal Banjara community. She had come to Pune to attend an educational course, and was active on social media platforms like TikTok, where she had considerable youth following.
Chavan is suspected to have died after jumping from the first floor of Heaven Park building in Mohammadwadi area in Pune in the early hours of February 7. According to the police, she was staying in an apartment in the building with a relative and one more person. After the incident, the two persons took her to hospital, but she was declared dead on arrival.
The police so far have not found a suicide note.
As per procedure, an accidental death (AD) case pending probe into the causes was registered with the Wanawadi police station in Pune. No complaint has so far been received from Chavan’s family.
Political turn due to allegations of links to Sena minister
Soon after her death, allegations cropped on social media platforms about her links with a Shiv Sena minister. Replying to a tweet about Chavan’s death, the National Commission for Women (NCW) tweeted on Saturday, “The NCW has taken cognizance of the matter. Chairperson Rekha Sharma has written to Director General of Police of Maharashtra for taking appropriate action in the matter. A copy of the letter has also been sent to Additional Commissioner of Pune, East Region, Pune.”
Former Chief Minister and now Leader of Opposition in Maharashtra Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis, also took to Twitter, sharing a letter he wrote to Maharashtra police chief.
The letter reads, “There are various media reports and social media posts about the alleged suicide of 22-year-old Pooja Chavan… This has caused displeasure among the Banjara community. My office has received 12 audio clips linked to the said case, which I am attaching with this letter for your perusal. It must be probed who are the people talking in those clips, and whether Pooja Chavan’s suicide by abetted by someone. Sadly, the ongoing probe seems to be superficial. We seek detailed probe into the case and strictest possible action against those responsible.”
बीड जिल्ह्यातील युवती पूजा चव्हाण हिच्या कथित आत्महत्याप्रकरणी, तसेच या प्रकरणात समाजमाध्यमांत व्हायरल होत असलेल्या ऑडिओ क्लिप्सच्या अनुषंगाने सर्वंकष चौकशी करण्यात यावी, याबाबत पोलिस महासंचालकांना पाठविलेले पत्र.. pic.twitter.com/Gkpf5aNTbK
— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) February 12, 2021
BJP’s Maharashtra unit Vice President Chitra Wagh went on to name the Shiv Sena minister in her tweet, and demanded probe into the case.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said in a media interaction that a thorough probe will be conducted in the case and action will be taken against those found involved.
Pune police conduct probe
The office of Maharashtra Director General of Police has issued directives to Pune city police to conduct an in-depth probe into the sequence of events leading to Pooja Chavan’s death.
An officer of Deputy Commissioner of Police rank and officials from Wanawadi police are said to be conducting preliminary probe into the case. Police teams have recorded the statements of the two persons staying with Chavan, and are in the process of speaking to her family members.
Officers said that purported audio clips about her, along with her phone logs and social media accounts, may also be investigated to ascertain the sequent of events and the cause behind her alleged suicide.
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