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Tharoor is Clean India brand ambassador, take Swamy's claims on Sunanda death with a bagfull of salt

​​Why ​was ​the team of Doctors who conducted the Post Mortem with Dr Sudhir Gupta not part of the medical board constituted for giving the Supplementary Medical Board Opinion on September 29, 2014?

Shehzad Poonawalla | IBNLive Specials

Updated:October 27, 2014, 12:53 PM IST
Tharoor is Clean India brand ambassador, take Swamy's claims on Sunanda death with a bagfull of salt
​​Why ​was ​the team of Doctors who conducted the Post Mortem with Dr Sudhir Gupta not part of the medical board constituted for giving the Supplementary Medical Board Opinion on September 29, 2014?

New Delhi: Today, biased TV commentators and professional misery hunters like Dr Subramanian Swamy have taken to a new sport namely "hit and run" where people can be held guilty without trial and where innuendo replaces hard facts. And the latest victim is Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. Notwithstanding, the fact that 8 myths propagated by these "crusaders for TV justice" on Sunanda Tharoor's death were busted by this author (Read here: http://www.firstpost.com/india/indicting-shashi-tharoor-sunanda-case-8-myths-propagated-media-pundits-1754699.html ) the one-sided persecution persists.

With the hope that that Swamy, Nalini Singh, Abha Singh and many of these TV talking heads ​and anchors​, would be able to answer on facts the following 16 questions, I once again present to you that side of the Shashi-Sunanda Tharoor case that nobody wants to discuss since it takes away from the sadistic sight of hanging an innocent, successful man for the death of a woman that meant more to him than anybody else! A side of the story that ​I am sure the authorities investigating the matter ought to consider in the interest of justice.

Here they are:

1. Why was no action was taken against Dr Sudhir Gupta, the AIIMS doctor, for making a public statement to the media on 18-1-2014, that he suspected poisoning, at a time when he had not even submitted his post-mortem report to the Inquiring Magistrate?

2. Who permitted Dr Sudhir Gupta to share photographs and video of her autopsy, with certain politicians? It is pertinent to state that Dr Subramanian Swamy has claimed in media that he has personally seen the autopsy video. ​Since Dr Sudhir Gupta is the custodian of such material who authorised him to share it with the public? ​Why has no action been taken against him for this flagrant breach of medical ethics?​

3. Why is it that Dr Sudhir Gupta, the same doctor who has made unproven allegations of pressure on him in Late Mrs Sunanda Tharoor's case in order to win his promotion case pending before CAT against AIIMS authorities, continues to head ​the ​Forensics Department and ​is ​permitted to head the Medical Board for rendering a ​"​new​"​ report dated September 29, 2014 which merely reiterates his existing claims​, especially when AIIMS authorities in July 2014, slammed him publicly for making these fake, baseless allegations?

4. Despite ​the ​submission of all Medical Reports of Late Mrs Sunanda Tharoor, to the investigating officer, why was her medical history overlooked at the time of preparation of the latest Post Mortem report? The factum of Late Mrs Sunanda Tharoor's admission in KIMS hospital in Trivandrum, 3 days before her death was made known to the investigating officer immediately. She had an I V needle in her palm the whole time​ of three days​ and several needles were inserted ​in her forearm ​to draw blood as well as to inject anaesthetics. ​When speculation in the media regarding the injection punctures were maliciously circulated by​ the​ likes of Subramanian Swamy, ​why did the media never mention that they had a simple explanation?

5. Why is it that the statement of Late Mrs Sunanda Tharoor's oldest friend, who stayed with her during her last days in the hospital, which mentions that she used to get bruise​d​ easily, was not taken into account in analysing her bruises? Why has the media, which showed pictures of bruises on Sunanda's arms and falsely and baselessly ​implied​ that​ Shashi Tharoor ​must have beat​e​n her up, not ​been ​willing to ​reveal this?​ Why has it not been acknowledged that​ Sunanda, who freely shared intimate details of her life with a wide circle of acquaintances who have since rushed onto TV channels, never ever suggested that Shashi Tharoor had ever done such a thing to her?

6. What are Nalini Singh's credentials for claiming to be a close friend of Sunanda's? Did she meet Sunanda in her last days? Indeed, has she ever met Sunanda alone or anywhere except at parties? Why is it that the many close friends who actually visited and spent time with Sunanda daily, including at the Leela Hotel, are all standing by Shashi Tharoor, while a casual acquaintance like Nalini Singh parades herself on television as supposedly privy to intimate details of Sunanda's life and is given much space in the media but the statements of Shiv Menon, Sunanda's son or her brothers, through which they show their unflinching support for Shashi are not played at all?

7. What is the basis of Dr Sudhir Gupta's claim that Late Mrs Sunanda Tharoor was in perfect health when she consulted a dozen different doctors last year, in Delhi, Dubai, London, Paris, Srinagar and Trivandrum about her illnesses​?​ ​Why is it not pointed out that available medical reports​,​ including ​the ​'discharge summary' from the KIMS hospital​, ​provides details of various suspected auto-immune disorders for which she was being investigated?

8. On what basis was the original claim of poisoning made by Dr Sudhir Gupta? What were the signs that pointed to possible poisoning? The viscera analysis conducted by CSFL, CBI showed no poison. And therefore this report has never been leaked or shared with anyone. The latest report ​from Dr Gupta ​dated 27-9-2014 lists various purported poisons that cannot be analysed in laboratories in India, without any basis for suspecting the presence of any of these poisons, at the first instance? Why has Polonium been specifically underscored, which is a theory advanced only by Dr Subramanian Swamy?

9. Who authorised Dr Sudhir Gupta to exceed his jurisdiction in addressing issues without any clinical basis? Since Dr Sudhir Gupta is ​reportedly facing charges of plagiarism and incompetence by ​the ​AIIMS authorities, why was he permitted to conduct a post-mortem of Late Mrs Sunanda Tharoor? Is it customary for forensic reports to list all the poisons that cannot be detected in Indian labs? Where has Dr Sudhir Gupta provided the evidence and reasoning for his conclusion that Sunanda was poisoned?

10. How is it that the presence of four substances listed in the report were leaked to the media, without explaining that these are commonly-used over-the-counter substances that Mrs Sunanda Tharoor consumed regularly? She had been dependent on Excedrin for her headaches for long time, and had become a heavy smoker in her last days​ which explains the presence of caffeine, acetaminophen (paracetamol) and cotinine (nicotine) in her viscera​. If these are the only elements found in her body, how do they lead to the conclusion that she was poisoned​ by some unknown substance​?

11. Isn't the purpose of the viscera tests at the CFSL lab meant to be to establish ​whether there was any poison and if so, ​what poison it was? If the lab found no poison, what is the basis ​for the ​suspicion and ​renewed ​report by a board of Doctors, where Dr Sudhir Gupta is ​the chief and two of his subordinates ​a​re the​ member​s​?

12. While the report speculates the presence of poisons like polonium and snake bites which are difficult to detect, how can the same​, if not present in the viscera,​ be detected in bed sheets and mattress​,​ that too by a forensic doctor who ​cannot be competent to record ​such ​a finding?

13. ​​Why ​was ​the team of Doctors who conducted the Post Mortem with Dr Sudhir Gupta not part of the medical board constituted for giving the Supplementary Medical Board Opinion on September 29, 2014?

14. Why has the media completely ignored a report by no less than a Padma Bhushan awardee and the most respected name in the ​forensics science ​​field​ -- ​Prof Dr P Chandra Sekharan ​-- ​to the Health Minister Dr Harsh​V​ardhan​,where he testifies that "The entire report (by Sudhir Gupta) is an embarrassment to the profession​1​" ​and t​hat "It makes unwarranted assumptions of poisoning and seeks to substantiate it by conducting a wild- goose chase for obscure and unknown poisons." That in his considered opinion "in all probabilities the death of Sunanda Pushkar is due to the prolonged intake of Acetaminophen while consuming alcohol and her death is accidental and self- induced." ​Did such an eminent person's view get even 1 per cent of the attention that Dr Gupta's and Dr Swamy's tendentious leaks have garnered from our media?​ If there has been no crime, why are we allowing an innocent man to be tarnished as a supposed criminal? Do TV anchors have no concern about their own credibility, and care only for sensationalism and TRPs?

​15. ​Since Dr Gupta's reports prima facie appears to be biased and unreliable; shouldn't the task be handed over to any independent new forensic expert or board for opinion and report?​

16. Why does the Prime Minister of India, to whose government the Delhi Police which is investigating the Sunanda Tharoor death reports, find no credence in the so called obvious claims and ​exaggerated suspicions presented by his own colleague from the BJP​,​ Dr Subramanian Swamy​,​ about Shashi Tharoor's role in a​n alleged​ murder most foul, involving as Dr Swamy likes to believe, some kind of James Bond-ish conspiracy involving spy agencies and Russian poison? Instead, he chooses to appoint Dr Tharoor as his brand ambassador for "Swach Bharat Abhiyan" and openly endorses Tharoor's participation! So would Dr Swamy be kind enough to enlighten us whether the PM is saving a guilty man or has he come to realise that ​D​r Swamy's claims must always be taken with a bagful of salt?

Disclaimer: Shehzad Poonawalla, lawyer-activist, formerly served with the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. Views are personal. Can follow him on Twitter @Shehzad_Ind

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