A Delhi court on Wednesday discharged Congress MP Shashi Tharoor in the Sunanda Pushkar death case. Tharoor, former union minister, who is currently on bail in the case, was chargesheeted by Delhi Police under Sections 498-A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Tharoor’s wife Pushkar was found dead in the suite of a luxury hotel in the city on the night of January 17, 2014, following which the police had charged Tharoor with abetment to suicide, among other charges. The Congress MP was present at the court when the verdict was given. “It had been seven and half years and it was torture,” Tharoor said, thanking the court.
The order was pronounced by special judge Geetanjali Goel. The last hearing in this matter was on April 12 when the court reserved the orders.
An FIR against Shashi Tharoor was filed in 2015 regarding Sunanda Pushkar’s death. Apart from the charges of abetment to suicide, he was also accused of marital cruelty.
Earlier, Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava said Pushkar was subjected to mental cruelty which led to her deteriorating. It was not an accidental death, the public prosecutor contended relying on the post mortem report which suggests that the cause of death is poisoning which could be oral or injected.
Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, who represented Tharoor argued that the prosecution failed to ascertain the cause of Sunanda Pushkar’s death between 2014 and 2017. It was also submitted that the doctors who conducted the preliminary post mortem report went beyond their jurisdiction by relying on circumstantial evidence.
“If you cannot establish suicide, then there can be no sec. 306 case. First, you have to establish there has been a suicide. From 2014 to 2017, it has been 4 years. They have given their opinion, it’s neither suicide nor homicide. Again a null in the investigation. Even when the report said there was no suicide, they registered a case under Section 302. They don’t say it’s suicide. Suicide cannot be without intent. I am not talking abetment at the moment. I am talking about suicide For suicide, there has to be intent,” he submitted.
The statement of Sunanda Pushkar’s son also played a crucial role in the case. In his statement, he had said, “In the Mortuary of AIIMS, I asked the doctor who conducted the post mortem about the case of death, he (doctor) responded that there is no foul play or poisoning but the same doctor later went into the media and said that death is due to poisoning. Shashi can’t harm even a fly.”
A day before Sunanda Pushkar’s death, she engaged with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarat in a Twitter spat over Tharoor’s alleged affair with Mehr. Reports said doctors revealed that Pushkar had several injury marks on ger hands which led the sub-divisional mafistrate to conclude that it was a case of poisoning. There were reports of doctor claiming to be under pressure to alter the autopsy report. In 2015, the Delhi Police concluded that Pushkar was murdered. In 2018, the chargesheet was filed.