In yet another twist in his wife's death, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has accused Delhi Police of "assaulting" and "intimidating" his domestic help into "confessing" that they both killed Sunanda Pushkar as police said it believes prima facie it is a case of murder.
A police team formed to investigate afresh Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar’s murder has started work, Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi said Wednesday.
“The special team is looking into each and every possibility of the case. Whatever is needed will be done,” Bassi told the media.
Asked if Tharoor, a former central minister and now a Congress MP, would be questioned, he said: “We will do, if needed.”
On Tuesday, the police said a case of murder had been registered against “unknown persons” after a medical report confirmed that Pushkar, found dead in a luxury hotel here in January 2014, was poisoned to death.
Informed sources said that a Delhi Police team visited the Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences in Thiruvananthapuram last month to speak to doctors who had treated Pushkar.
Pushkar, 52, was found dead in mysterious circumstances a day after she and her husband checked into the hotel because their house was getting painted.
After police announced Tuesday that Pushkar was murdered, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Communist Party of India-Marxist in Kerala asked Tharoor to quit his Lok Sabha seat.
Contradictions in two autopsy reports about traces of alprazolam (an anti-depressant), in Sunanda Pushkar’s viscera delayed the investigation and registration of the FIR, Delhi Police said.
Police said there were two reports of autopsy, conducted on Sunanda’s body by the board of three doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Jan 18, 2014.
The first report ruled out the possibility of alprazolam in her viscera while the final report which came in September suggested alprazolam poisoning.
“Both the reports mentioned traces of poisoning but the substance was not made clear. Prima facie, it was suspected to be a case of overdose of alprax tablets consumed by Pushkar as empty strips of alprax tablets were recovered from her hotel room, but the first report ruled it out,” an official said.
The second report talked of alprazolam poisoning, he said.
The first report said: “Two used alprax strips of capacity 15 tablets each were recovered from the crime scene. However, viscera report is negative for presence of alprazolam.”
The second report said: “The circumstantial evidence are suggestive of alprazolam poisoning.”
Delhi police said that due to differences in two reports they made a request in the first week of Dec last year to AIIMS’s board, headed by forensics Sudhir Kumar Gupta, to give their final opinion.
Police on Dec 28, 2014 received the final report.
Sudhir Gupta said: “We have also taken an independent opinion from the head of the department of a leading hospital of Delhi, department of pathology. So, this is a combined opinion of the AIIMS medical board.”
Meanwhile, a day after police said Sunanda Pushkar was poisoned, her husband and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor alleged in a letter made public Wednesday that a police officer tried to implicate him and a domestic help in her mysterious death.
In a letter to Delhi Commissioner of Police B.S. Bassi dated Nov 13, Tharoor, a former central minister, urged the police chief to take action against the officer.
Tharoor said four police officers interrogated his domestic help Narayan Singh for 16 hours Nov 7 and for 14 hours Nov 8. On both days, he alleged that Narayan Singh was repeatedly physically assaulted by an officer.
“Worse, that officer used the traumatic physical assault to try and intimidate Narayan into ‘confessing’ that he and I murdered my wife,” said Tharoor.
He quoted Bassi as telling him that the officer’s conduct was “completely unacceptable and illegal”.
The Congress leader, later nominated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as an ambassador for the Clean India campaign, said the police action amounted “to the use of physical coercion in the attempt to frame an innocent man.
“I request you to take immediate and appropriate action against such unlawful misconduct of the officer.”
He said he and his staff had always made themselves available for any investigation “but the behaviour of the officers towards my staff is a matter of serious concern to any law abiding citizen”.
The letter became public knowledge a day after Delhi Police announced that Pushkar, who was found dead in a luxury hotel here a year ago, was actually poisoned to death.
Delhi Police chief B.S. Bassi denied the allegation. He told CNN-IBN news channel that he checked with his officers about the allegations made by Tharoor and found that no physical assault had taken place.
“I had received an email. I had asked the concerned officers. Nothing of this sort was reported by them,” he said.
Bassi admitted he had spoken to Tharoor over telephone but said Delhi Police believed in policing which was governed by rule of law.
“So in our policing, we have no place for strong tactics. Anything of this sort is totally unacceptable. In this case, when I checked with my officers, they found nothing of this sort,” Bassi said.
Pushkar, 52, died Jan 17 last year. Tharoor was a minister in the government of then prime minister Manmohan Singh. He was re-elected to the Lok Sabha in May last year.
A day before her death, Pushkar and Tharoor issued a joint statement denying reports that they had a row over the Congress MP’s alleged affair with a Pakistani journalist. (IANS)