Eighteen years after the incident took place, the Bombay High Court, has asked the state to appoint a woman officer to probe the death of a professor in Sangamner, near Shirdi.
While the police department recorded the death as accidental, the HC has asked the state to conduct an independent probe to ascertain whether the death was accidental, suicidal or a homicide.
Vijaya Deshmukh, a professor with the Amrut Vahini Engineering College in Sangamner, succumbed to 85 per cent burns in February 1991.
A petition was filed by two social activists from Sangamner — Hemant Dhage and Vijaykumar Thakur — seeking a probe in Deshmukh’s death. The activists have alleged the role of Balasaheb Thorat, minister of agriculture, in the case.
Dhage’s petition alleges that Thorat had promised Deshmukh that he would marry her. However, Thorat did not disclose that he was already married and had two daughters. He allegedly wanted to marry Deshmukh in the hope that she would deliver a son, the petition said, but when Thorat learnt that his wife was expecting a baby boy, he allegedly snapped ties with Deshmukh.
When contacted, Thorat refused comment saying that the petition was politically motivated. “I am in my constituency,” Thorat said. “I don’t know what happened in the High Court.”