By Prarthana Mitra
A Delhi court on Tuesday accused and summoned former Union minister and United Nations diplomat Shashi Tharoor for abetment of wife Sunanda Pushkar’s suicide in 2014. After taking cognisance of the charge sheet presented by the Delhi police earlier in May, the court has fixed the date of trial for July 7.
Here’s what happened
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal spoke to NDTV regarding Tharoor’s alleged offences of abetment of suicide and cruelty towards Pushkar after the charge sheet named him as an accused.
“There exists sufficient grounds to proceed against Tharoor for commission of offences of Section 306 and 498 A of IPC. Issue summons to him for appearance for July 7,” the court added. Though it was a murder probe with the FIR registered under IPC Section 302 (murder), police have charged Tharoor under abetment and cruelty towards spouse.
Immediately after the court’s pronouncement of the order, Tharoor’s lawyer and senior advocate Vikas Pahwa addressed the media, dismissing the prosecution’s case as “absurd and preposterous”.
“We shall be asking for a copy of the charge sheet and the documents relied upon by the prosecution. After going through them, we shall decide our further course of action. Dr Tharoor will take all legal remedies available to him in law,” Pahwa said, adding that no offence was clearly made out against the Congress leader.
According to the charge sheet, Pushkar killed herself by overdosing on antidepressants and she was driven to take the extreme step by her husband who had been negligent of her mental condition. Tharoor, a Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, had then tweeted that he intends to vigorously contest the charges levied against him.
Let’s back up a bit
Pushkar, 51, was found dead in her suite at a luxury hotel in Delhi on January 17, 2014, four years after marrying Tharoor. There had reportedly been tensions between the couple in the days before her death over Tharoor’s alleged affair with a Pakistani journalist, which Pushkar had even tweeted about.
After four years of thorough investigation, during which Tharoor was questioned several times, the Delhi police submitted a 3000-page charge sheet, dismissing murder but claiming that circumstances had driven Pushkar to commit suicide. Besides having a history of abusing anti-depressants without a prescription, she had not been eating and had not left her hotel room, the charge sheet says.
The reasons for naming Tharoor as an accused also include the injury marks on Pushkar’s body and several public scuffles between the couple.
However, the fact that no arrests have been made even after four years has raised many eyebrows, despite post-mortem examination confirming that Pushkar’s death was “unnatural” and “due to poison.”
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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