New Delhi: Scores of people thronged the streets as a convoy of Maharashtra Minister Sanjay Rathod, suspected in 23-year-old Pooja Chavan’s death, reached Pohradevi temple in Washim district on Tuesday. The police used lathi-charge to disperse them. Rathod, who was not seen in public after his name was linked to the death of the Pune woman, was seen for the first time in weeks visiting a temple in Washim district this morning. Also Read - Amid Surge in Coronavirus Cases, Govt Rushes Central Health Teams to Maharashtra, Punjab | Key Points

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 gathered at the venue, in apparent violation of the social distancing norms, forcing the police to take action to disperse the crowd. Also Read - Is Maharashtra Heading Towards Second Lockdown? Over 10,000 Corona Cases Reported in Single-Day

Talking to reporters after visiting the Pohradevi Temple in Washim, the Shiv Sena leader dismissed the allegations against him calling it “dirty politics” on the woman’s “unfortunate” death. Rathod also expressed confidence that truth will come out following a probe into the matter.

Rathod said he and the Banjara community, to which he 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.

Meanwhile, the opposition BJP demanded removal of Rathod as a state minister and a comprehensive probe into the woman’s death.

The 23-year-old TikTok star, Pooja Chavan died after falling from a building in Hadapsar area of Pune on February 8. Some social media posts and the BJP had alleged that Rathod was connected to the death of the woman.

“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.

“I can tell you that there is no substance in what is being said in the media and on social media… I request you not to defame me, my family and my community. Let’s wait for the probe finding,” said Rathod, who is also the guardian minister of Yavatmal.