India News

Chronology of police probe in Sunanda Pushkar case

New Delhi, Aug 18:  A few days after Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead under mysterious circumstances on January 17, 2014 at a five-star hotel in Chanakyapuri, the probe into the case was transferred to Delhi Police’s Crime Branch but two days later, it was entrusted back to the district police.



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The suite was sealed that night itself for investigation.

The couple was staying in the hotel as the official bungalow of Tharoor was being renovated at that time.

An FIR was registered by Delhi Police on January 1, 2015 against unidentified persons under IPC section 302 (murder).

Several persons including Tharoor were questioned in connection with Sunanda’s death. The police also conducted a polygraph test on six persons, all prime witnesses in the case, including Tharoor’s domestic help Narayan Singh, driver Bajrangi and Sanjay Dewan, a close friend of the couple.

In 2016, Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar was questioned about her relation with the Congress leader and his wife, her fight with Sunanda over Twitter, and other issues revolving around Sunanda’s death. Pushkar was found dead a day after she had a Twitter spat with Tarar over the latter’s alleged affair with Tharoor.

Later that year, Delhi Police wrote to Canada’s department of justice, seeking details of the deleted chats from the mobile phones of Sunanda and her husband.

The police sent a Letters Rogatory to the department asking them to get details of chat messages from Research in Motion Ltd, a senior police officer said.

Senior journalist Nalini Singh had told police that she had a chat with Sunanda in which she had mentioned that Tharoor and Tarar had allegedly exchanged messages that were deleted from the Congress MP’s phone.

On May 14, 2018, Delhi Police filed a 3,000-page charge sheet naming Tharoor as accused of abetting suicide of his wife and subjecting her to cruelty.

Delhi Police had said the charge sheet was filed “on the basis of medico-legal and forensic evidence analysed during investigation as well as opinion of psychological autopsy experts”.

On June 5, a Delhi court took cognisance of the charge sheet and summoned Tharoor. Almost a month later, Tharoor was granted anticipatory bail by a sessions court and later it was converted into regular bail.

On February 4, 2019, the case was committed by magisterial court to sessions court, considering offence was sessions court triable.

In July the same year, the court directed prosecution to not share the charge sheet and documents pertaining to the case with a third party. The hearing on the charge sheet started on August 20. Delhi Police urged the court to prosecute Tharoor for abetment to suicide, or “alternatively” frame murder charges against him on August 31.

On April 12 this year, the court reserved order on whether to frame charges against Tharoor. The court discharged him of the charges on August 18.


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