Sunanda Pushkar Case: Delhi Court Allows Shashi Tharoor to Travel to Geneva

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Monday filed a criminal complaint against Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in Thiruvananthapuram court for allegedly making defamatory remarks against him.

New Delhi, Aug 20: A Delhi court today allowed Congress leader Shashi Tharoor's plea to travel to Geneva to express condolences to the family of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and seek international aid for Kerala, which is reeling under unprecedented floods.

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The politician, who is currently on bail in a case related to his wife Sunanda Pushkar's death almost four years ago in a luxury hotel here, approached the court this morning through his lawyers following an earlier direction that he will not leave the country without its permission.

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Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal allowed the politician's application after his counsel said Tharoor had worked under Annan for ten years and he was his "close friend and mentor" at the United Nations. Annan died on Saturday last.

"The applicant (Tharoor) is granted permission to travel to Geneva, Switzerland between August 20 and 21 as prayed for. Inform the investigating officer about your schedule," the judge said.

The court had on August 1 allowed Tharoor's application seeking permission for around eight visits to five countries, including the US, Canada and Germany, till December. He is currently in Germany pursuant to the court order.

However, Geneva was not on his list of travel. In his application moved today through senior advocate Vikas Pahwa and advocate Gaurav Gupta, the Thiruvananthapuram MP told the court that "in view of the sudden demise of his close friend and mentor Kofi Annan, the applicant (Tharoor) urgently wishes to go to Geneva for one day to visit the family of the deceased."

The application further said that Tharoor also "wished to meet representatives of United Nations and other humanitarian organisations in order to seek aid and relief for the massive calamity which has hit Kerala, that is his state and constituency (Thiruvananthapuram)."

Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a luxury hotel in the city on the night of January 17, 2014. The couple was staying in the hotel, as the official bungalow of Shashi Tharoor was being renovated at that time.

In its August 1 order granting permission to Tharror to travel abroad, the court had placed several conditions on him and directed the Congress MP to furnish a fixed deposit of Rs two lakh, which will be refunded on his return.

Besides directing him not to tamper with the evidence or influence witnesses, it had asked him to inform the investigating officer and the court about the travel details and his arrival in the country.