Delhi court discharges Shashi Tharoor in wife Sunanda Pushkar's death
Indian National Congress MP Shashi Tharoor was on Wednesday discharged in the case pertaining to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar in 2014. Tharoor had earlier been slapped with multiple charges, including abetment to suicide, over his suspected involvement in Pushkar's mysterious death. The discharge order was pronounced by a court in Delhi's Rouse Avenue. Here are more details.
While pronouncing the order, Special Judge Geetanjali Goel said, "The accused is discharged," LiveLaw reported. Tharoor, who was present during the virtual hearing, was being represented by Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa. As he was cleared of all charges, the Congress MP reportedly said, "It had been seven and half years and it was torture. I'm so grateful."
Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel room on January 17, 2014, where the couple was staying. Their official residence was being renovated at the time. Tharoor was then a minister in the Congress-led UPA government. On January 1, 2015, an FIR was filed in the case against unknown persons on the charges of murder.
Tharoor was granted anticipatory bail in the case in July 2018. On August 31, 2019, the Delhi Police had asked a Delhi court to press charges against the Congress MP under Sections 498A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or "alternatively" charge him for murder.
The prosecution had argued that while the post-mortem report suggested death by poisoning, there were 15 ante mortem injuries inflicted 12 hours to four days before death. These injuries were produced in a scuffle, it said. Pahwa argued the police had taken an "adventurous route" on its probe and said that "there are rather reports which say it was neither homicide nor suicide."
Reportedly, Pahwa further argued, "A psychological autopsy was conducted. They wanted to know the mental status of the victim. But till date, they are not clear whether she committed suicide or it was a homicide." The prosecution had also submitted that the CFSL report on her death was not right, a statement dismissed as "irresponsible" by Pahwa.
Pahwa asserted that "none of the labs in India say that Alprax was found." Trace amounts were found because Pushkar was consuming one or two tablets, he said, adding that this theory was "in the air" and a "figment of imagination of the prosecutor."