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Evidence Shows Sunanda Pushkar's Death Neither Suicide Nor Homicide: Shashi Tharoor Tells Court

File photo of senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. (PTI)

File photo of senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. (PTI)

Shashi Tharoor said not even a single witness has made any allegations of dowry, harassment or cruelty against him.

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor claimed before a Delhi court on Tuesday that evidence showed the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar was neither a suicide nor homicide and sought discharge in the case. Tharoor, represented by senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, said not even a single witness has made any allegations of dowry, harassment or cruelty against him.

The submissions were made before Special Judge Geetanjli Goel during arguments on framing of charges in the case. The court put up the matter for further hearing on March 26.

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 Tharoor was being renovated at that time. Pahwa said post mortem and other medical reports have allegedly established that it was neither a suicide nor homicide.

He further said the prosecution cannot assume that it was a suicide and have to establish it. "There is no material for framing of charges against Tharoor," the senior counsel said.

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Pahwa had earlier said there was no evidence against Tharoor to prove the offence punishable under either section 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) or 306 (abetment of suicide) of IPC. Pahwa had said her death should be treated as accidental.

He had also said that during the course of the investigation there have been a plethora of reports by experts before the investigating officer (IO) but there was 'no definite opinion on the cause of death'. He had added that even after years of investigation by the police, the prosecution has failed to conclusively identify the cause of death.

Pahwa had further submitted before the court that Pushkar was grappling with various medical ailments at the time of her death. Pahwa added that "the Investigating Officer erroneously formed an opinion vis-a-vis the commission of an offence. However, reports and other material relied upon in fact exonerates Tharoor from all charges." "The opinion of the Autopsy Board took into consideration circumstantial evidence beyond the four corners of the autopsy room which is not permissible.

"The Board has failed to substantiate their opinion during the course of the investigation due to which the IO decided to move onto seeking opinion from another Medical Board, Pahwa told the court. Tharoor has been charged under sections 498A and 306 of the Indian Penal Code, but was not arrested in the case. He was granted bail on July 5, 2018.

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first published:March 23, 2021, 22:27 IST