22-yr-old TikTok star’s death sparks political row in Maharashtra

A potentially embarrassing situation developed for the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi government in Maharashtra as a TikTok star’s death in Pune has snowballed into a political row with the opposition BJP on Friday demanding an impartial probe into the incident.

Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis, the Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly, has shot off a letter to Director-General of Police Hemant Nagrale along with some purported audio clips pointing to the alleged involvement of a minister in the incident.

The deceased – Pooja Chavan (22) – hailed from Beed district and had just come to Pune to attend an English-speaking course. She was living along with two youth, said to be her brother and his friend. On February 8, she allegedly committed suicide by jumping off a building named Heaven Park in the Wanawadi area of the city, sparking off a controversy.

The Wanawadi police have registered an accidental death case, ruling out anything suspicious about her death, while social media audio-messages have also been scanned.

However, the state BJP Women’s Cell President Archana Patil met Pune Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta on Thursday and demanded a full probe into the matter, claiming that an MVA minister’s name was allegedly linked to the girl.

BJP leader Chitra Wagh has urged Home Minister Anil Deshmukh to order a fair probe into the matter as her family was reportedly under pressure.

Deputy Chief Minister and the Guardian Minister for Pune district, Ajit Pawar, said that the police are probing the case and the truth will come out after the investigation is complete.

While Fadnavis pointed out that the Banjara community is disturbed after the incident, the Pune Police claimed that the girl’s family has given a statement saying she died by suicide owing to some mental problems and no complaint has been lodged in connection with the case.

The matters came to a boil in the past couple of days after several purported audio clips on the incident went viral, leading to a political blame game by the opposition as the needle of suspicion allegedly pointed towards a state minister.