Sunanda Pushkar death: What happened in the seven-year long case
- Congress MP Shashi Tharoor faced a 3,000-page chargesheet
- Tharoor was accused of abetting suicide and subjecting his wife to cruelty
- A postmortem report said Pushkar's death appeared to be 'unnatural, sudden'
Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor was Wednesday discharged by a Delhi court in a case related to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar. The case hogged headlines for over seven years and saw Tharoor face a 3,000-page chargesheet filed against him by the Delhi Police. It all started in 2014 with Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar and Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar’s spat on Twitter. Next day, on January 17, Pushkar was found dead under mysterious circumstances at Hotel Leela in New Delhi.
Delhi Police, which initially filed a murder case against unknown persons in January 2015, later charged Tharoor with abetting the suicide of Pushkar and subjecting her to cruelty.
In May 2018, the Delhi court transferred the case to a special court designated to deal with cases of MPs and MLAs. The prosecution urged court to take cognisance of Sections 306 (abetment to suicide) and 498A (cruelty) against Tharoor. Finding "sufficient grounds" to proceed against Tharoor, court took cognisance of the charges and summoned him to appear before it on July 7 that year.
Tharoor was granted protection by the court from arrest as it observed police had failed to bring anything on record to show if he had tried to influence witnesses or tamper with evidence.
In July 2018, Tharoor appeared before magistrate court following summons, and was granted regular bail. The court committed the case to Sessions Court for trial in February 2019.
In May 2019, court dismissed Rajya Sabha MP and BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy’s plea seeking to bring on record a police report on alleged evidence tampering by Tharoor.
In April 2021, court reserved its order on framing of charges against Tharoor, a month after Tharoor’s lawyers sought his discharge from the case on grounds of no conclusive cause of death even after seven years.
Earlier, a postmortem conducted by AIIMS, New Delhi, had said Pushkar’s death appeared to be a case of “unnatural, sudden death” and pointed to over dozen injury marks on her body. It also noted that “nominal traces” of an anti-anxiety drug in her body, while ruling out drug overdose.