Sunanda Pushkar was murdered, confirms Delhi police

Sunanda Pushkar was murdered, confirms Delhi police

NEW DELHI: In a sensational revelation, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi on Tuesday confirmed that the wife of former Union minister Shashi Tharoor, Sunanda Pushkar, who was found dead on January 17, 2014 in her hotel room in Delhi, had been murdered.

Delhi police have registered an FIR under section 302 in the case. “The FIR is not against any particular person," Bassi said. However, it seems that Congress Rajya Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor is likely to be questioned in the case.

The medical board which conducted the autopsy said that the death was unnatural and due to poisoning.

Bassi says according to the AIIMS report, Pushkar was poisoned, but whether the poison was administered orally or injected, has not been confirmed. Pushkar's viscera has been sent abroad for testing. 

The quantum of poison was also ascertained by medical board, the Delhi police said.

The team comprised three doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and was headed by Dr Sudhir Gupta, who had earlier alleged that the team was pressured into giving a 'tailor-made' report in the case

The evidence maybe sent abroad for detailed examination, the Delhi police added today.

Polonium poisoning suspected

Police said that Polonium 210 could have been the poison that led to Sunanda Pushkar's death. According to Times Now, Delhi Police suspects Polonium poisoning as it was also present in the AIIMS report.

Tharoor stunned

Meanwhile, Shashi Tharoor, reacting to the news of his wife Sunanda Pushkar's death being a murder, said that he was stunned and was ready to co-operate with the police.

"I am stunned to hear that the Delhi Police have filed a case of murder against unknown persons in the demise of my late wife Sunanada. Needless to say I am anxious to see this case is investigated thoroughly and continue to assure the Police of my full co-operation," Tharoor said in a statement.

"Although we never thought of any foul play in the death of my wife, we all want that a comprehensive investigation be conducted and that the unvarnished truth should come out," the statement said.

Tharoor added that he would ask the police for full information about the findings in the case.

"We have not been provided with copies of the post-mortem report and other reports of the inquiry like the CFSL report till date. We repeat our request for a copy of these reports to be provided to us immediately," he said.

Sunanda couldn't have been murdered without Tharoor's involvement, alleges cousin reported that Sunanda Pushkar's cousin, Ashok Kumar, has alleged that the family always knew that she had been murdered. He further alleged that her murder couldn't have happened unless Tharoor was involved in it.

"We want Tharoor to be interrogated. Without Tharoor's involvement, this murder couldn't have taken place. We are satisfied that the investigation is going in the right direction," FirstPost quoted Ashok Kumar as saying.

"We always knew that this was a case of murder. This decision (taken by the police) was delayed. We had said from the beginning that this was a murder case. We want punishment to be given to the people involved in this murder," Kumar added.

Sunanda Pushkar, 52, was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a suite at The Leela Palace hotel in south Delhi January last year.

Her death came within 48 hours of her going public about her husband's alleged affair with a Pakistani journalist, Mehr Tarar.

She was discovered by Shashi Tharoor when he returned to the hotel on Friday evening after Friday's AICC session. The couple are said to have moved out of the minister's official bungalow as it was being painted.

How it all unfolded

# On the morning of January 16, 2014, Sunanda and her husband checked into suite No. 345 of Leela Hotel.
# On January 17, Shashi Tharoor left to attend the All Indian Congress Committee session.
# Tharoor returned to the hotel around 8:00 pm.
# He was resting in a room.
# After that he check Sunanda's room and found it locked from inside.
# Tharoor opened it with his own key and found her lying in bed.
# At this, Tharoor panicked and alerted his personal assistant who informed Tharoor's personal secretary.
# Tharoor's personal secretary then informed the hotel authorities and the police around 8:30 pm.
# A forensic lab team arrived around 9:00 pm to look for evidence inside the room.

Who was Sunanda

Sunanda first grabbed attention while accompanying Shashi Tharoor at social gatherings.

Pushkar was a sales director in the Dubai- based TECOM Investments and a co-owner of Rendezvous Sports World (RSW). RSW bid for IPL team Kochi Tuskers Kerala. Tharoor is the MP from Thiruvananthapuram. In April 2010, Pushkar relinquished her estimated Rs 70-crore stake when allegations of corruption against Tharoor caused a furore.

It was alleged that Tharoor used her as a front to collect Rs 70 crore for helping the Kochi owners get their IPL team. Rendezvous Sports World led the consortium that bought the Kochi team.

In the late 1990s, she emigrated to Canada, where she lived with with a banker companion in Toronto. She returned to Dubai with a Canadian passport, and joined TECOM in the mid- 2000s. In October 2009, she met Tharoor at a party. She married Tharoor in 2010 after he was elected as an MP.

A crucial turn

The mysterious Sunanda Pushkar death case had taken a crucial turn after the Delhi Police in November questioned the staff of Leela Palace Hotel where she was found dead.

The South district police grilled them for more than an hour at the Sarojini Nagar police station.

The police officials had also scanned CCTV footages of the hotel and found Pushkar was last seen on January 16 but she never came out of her room no. 345. The sources said: "Police also called some of the hotel staff of Leela Palace Hotel, especially those who saw victim Sunanda in the last 24 hours."

The Delhi Police also recorded statements of her two attendants - Narayan and Bajrangi - and one doctor of The Leela Palace hotel who first attended on her.

Doctor claims he was pressured to give wrong report

Around the same time, Dr. Sudhir Gupta, a top doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) had alleged that was pressured to give a 'doctored report' in Sunanda Pushkar's death case.

Gupta headed the team of experts who conducted the post-mortem on Pushkar's body. He has alleged in his complaint to the Health Ministry and the Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC) that he was pressured by top officials to show that Pushkar's death was 'natural'.

Gupta claimed that he did not bow to the pressure and stated in his report that Pushkar died due to drug poisoning, which could be 'suicidal or homicidal'.

Former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor however reacted to the controversy strongly. Tharoor, on his Facebook page, commented that he wants 'a thorough and fair probe' into his wife's death to 'put all speculation to rest'.

Tharoor on his Facebook page said, "Upon the tragic loss of my wife Sunanda and from the very beginning, I have requested for a thorough investigation by the authorities to be conducted and concluded rapidly and transparently. The Pushkar family has taken the same view and we have all fully co-operated with the authorities. I reiterate my request to bring this protracted inquiry to a clear and definitive conclusion at the earliest, so as to put all speculation to rest."

Earlier, in October 2014, after recovering the bed sheet and the carpet having fluid marks and broken glass from the hotel room, the three phones and the laptop were sent to check if anything was deleted from the device. Police also quizzed people with whom Pushkar was in contact on her Yahoo and Google email accounts in her last days.

Police had not quizzed a single person in the last nine months nor did it try to inspect the ‘crime’ scene.

As the police try to reinvestigate the case from scratch, there are two possibilities in the case, first is that the police register a fresh FIR in the case and second it closes investigations stating that no foul play was found.

It was only after the AIIMS report that the police got suite number 345 of Leela Palace Hotel, where Pushkar was found dead, opened.

Police had also called upon the AIIMS doctors and experts from FSL to inspect the room during which fluid marks were found on Sunanda’s bed sheet, the carpet and a broken glass in the room. These articles have also been sent to forensic labs for examination.

The suite of the five-star hotel, had remained sealed and was opened for the first time since the incident.

Police had also got information regarding Pushkar’s twin email accounts from Yahoo and Google with details of whom she was in touch during her last days.

A list of these people through their IP addresses was made by the police and they were quizzed about the conversations.

Their statements are now being tallied with each other and also with those which were recorded before the SDM during the initial investigation. (With inputs from Mail Today, IANS and Agencies)