The Delhi Police have filed a chargesheet in a court in Sunanda Pushkar's suicide case, accusing her husband and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor with abetment to suicide, a charge he dubbed "preposterous" and his party called "baseless".
The chargesheet was filed in the court of Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh here. It mentions that the body of Pushkar bore “scuffle marks” when it was found in a luxury hotel room in New Delhi on January 17, 2014.
“These (marks) seem to have been caused due to a scuffle between Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor and her husband Shashi Tharoor as per the statement of their personal attendant Narain Singh. However, this fact is being examined further.”
Tharoor has been charged under Sections 306 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code that deal with abetment to suicide and subjecting a woman to cruelty by her husband or his relative respectively, which entail a jail term that may extend up to 10 years.
Delhi Police Chief Spokesperson Deependra Pathak said the chargesheet was filed in the case on the basis of medico-legal and forensic evidence analysed during investigation as well as the opinion of experts regarding Pushkar’s death, which was investigated by a Special Investigation Team of South District police.
The Congress, however, said that there “could be no more falsehood about this charge except that a conspiratorial BJP leadership, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were seeking revenge against Tharoor by using the Delhi Police which, he said, was a willing tool to subserve BJP’s political agenda”.
BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy said that all witnesses and documents in the case were destroyed during the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) rule by the “corrupt” police.
“Under Section 301 CrPC and also via JK International judgement of SC, I am entitled to assist the prosecutor in the Sunanda unnatural death case,” he tweeted.
He said he will appear in court on the next date of hearing on May 24.
Congress leader Randeep Surjewala told the media here that top BJP leaders had “conspired against Tharoor” and accused him of murdering his wife while the chargesheet filed by Delhi Police on Monday was for abetment of suicide.
Surjewala dubbed these charges “baseless” and a conspiracy by the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders who “hounded, prosecuted and maligned” Tharoor.
He said that the BJP continued to leak unfounded evidence so that a media trial going on for a year-and-a-half against Tharoor could continue.
The Congress leader questioned the police investigation, saying how could it be called a suicide too when there were no suicide note or witnesses.
“We will not be cowed down, we will not bow. We have full faith in the justice system,” he added.
The chargesheet says that the brothers and son of Pushkar made “no allegations against anyone”.
Pushkar, 51, was found dead in her suite at Leela Hotel in south Delhi, days after she alleged that her husband was having an affair with a Pakistani journalist.
There was no evidence of Pushkar’s murder but she may have been driven to suicide as she had not been eating or even leaving her room days before her death, according to the chargesheet.
Tharoor took to Twitter in his defence, saying he had taken note of the filing of this “preposterous chargesheet”. He said he intended to “contest it vigorously”.
“No one who knew Sunanda believes she would ever commit suicide, let alone abetment on my part.”
He said if that was the conclusion arrived at after four-plus years of investigation it “does not speak well of the methods or motivations of Delhi Police”.
In October 2017, Tharoor said, a law officer made a statement in the Delhi High Court that they have not found anything against anyone “and now in six months they say that I have abetted a suicide”.