Delhi Police drops murder charges against Shashi Tharoor; Swamy says will pursue murder angle

Delhi Police has dropped its initial charge of murder against politician Shashi Tharoor in its final chargesheet in the Sunanda Pushkar murder case.

Instead, the police has gone with ‘abetment to suicide’ and ‘cruelty’ towards spouse.

Initially, the police had started investigations on the basis of an FIR mentioning murder and section 302, but the actual chargesheet only mentions sections 306 and 498A.

Section 306, relating to abetment to suicide, carries a maximum term of 10 years, while 498A carries a maximum term of three years.

The chargesheet mentions ‘physical altercation’ between the couple.

The move indicates that the investigating agency has not been able to find any evidence to substantiate allegations that the Congress Party MP killed his wife, as alleged by some public figures.

BJP politician Subramanian Swamy is among several people who have been accusing the government of trying to orchestrate a cover up.

Commenting on today’s development, Swamy said evidence in the case were destroyed.

“The trial is where the final charges will be decided,” he said, adding that the court can institute new charges if they feel the requirement. “That is what I will be insisting on,” he said, adding that he continues to believe that it was a murder and not a suicide.

“I will not let the trial go this way or that way,” he added.

Similarly, journalist Arnab Goswami too has been highlighting the case. Tharoor even approached the courts for relief against what he famously termed as an “exasperating farrago of distortions, misrepresentations & outright lies.”

Pushkar had been suffering from a mysterious illness before her death, but was unable to get it diagnosed despite have herself examined by the best doctors.

Days before her death, she was examined at Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS). She had apparently been suffering from a rheumatological illness. Rheumatological illnesses are those that affect muscles, joints and bones.

A body of four doctors set up by the government to examine findings by the FBI and AIIMS into the death failed to come up with  conclusive results in 2015.

The examination of Pushkar’s internal organs revealed traces of ethyl alcohol, caffeine, acetaminophen and cotinine. Nevertheless, the AIIMS board “reserved its comment” on specifying the exact poison that killed Pushkar, citing limitations within the viscera report.

Besides being Tharoor’s wife, Pushkar was a successful Indian businesswoman. She was a sales director in the Dubai-based TECOM Investments, and a co-owner of the India-based Rendezvous Sports World (RSW), a cricket franchise in the Indian Premier League.

Two days before her death, a series of intimate messages, supposedly sent by the Pakistani journalist Mehar Tarar to Tharoor, were posted on Tharoor’s Twitter account. The messages reportedly proclaimed Tarar’s love for Tharoor.

On 17 January 2014, Sunanda was found dead in room number 345 of the Leela Palace hotel in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, where the couple were putting up.