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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Maharashtra minister’s love for his revolver puts him in the spotlight, once again

Video of Girish Mahajan trying to hunt down man-eating leopard in Jalgaon raises eyebrows; minister says he always carries his firearm

mumbai Updated: Nov 28, 2017 15:44 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Senior BJP leader and medical education minister Girish Mahajan.
Senior BJP leader and medical education minister Girish Mahajan.(HT File)

Senior BJP leader and medical education minister Girish Mahajan is so fond of his revolver that he carries it all the time. His love for the firearm has, however, landed him in two controversies in two years.

The latest broke on Monday when Marathi news channels telecast a video of the gun-totting minister trying to hunt down a man-eating leopard in Jalgaon district’s Chalisgaon area, in north Maharashtra. Mahajan was with a team of forest department and police personnel, who had permission to shoot the animal at sight.

The five-time BJP MLA admits that he carries the revolver all the time. “If I am not carrying it for some reason, then I keep it in my car,” said Mahajan, who is also the guardian minister of Jalgaon, his home district.

Explaining the video, Mahajan told HT: “The leopard has killed five people in the district in the past one-and-a-half months. On Monday, I visited the families of the people killed. On my way, forest officials sighted the leopard, so we decided to chase it down. Being a legislator and the district’s guardian minister, I wanted to take part in the search operation, instead of sitting safely in my car.” The man-eating leopard had been sighted 400 feet away from his convoy.

The leopard, however, managed to stay out of sight of the revolver-wielding minister and the search team.

A close aide of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Mahajan got embroiled in a controversy in 2015 when he attended a function for schoolchildren with hearing and speech disabilities with a revolver tucked visibly on his waist.

More recently, the senior minister came under fire, but not for wielding his revolver. Women activists and Opposition parties tore at him after he advised a sugar factory to name liquor brands after women for better sales. Later, he apologised for his remark.

Earlier this year, he had made news for reportedly attending the wedding of a relative of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

First Published: Nov 28, 2017 15:41 IST