Sunanda Pushkar.

Sunanda Pushkar.

Sunanda death unnatural: Police chief; FBI found radioactive material traces

FBI couldn't read radioactive intensity in viscera: AIIMS forensic

Agency Report | New Delhi | 15 January, 2016 | 11:40 PM

The current observation of the final viscera report of Sunanda Pushkar gives a clear impression that she died an unnatural death, according to Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi.

“The current investigation of the final viscera report submitted to the Delhi Police states that Sunanda Pushkar did not die a natural death… that is for certain. It was an unnatural death,” Bassi told reporters here on Friday.

The Delhi Police is reviewing the final viscera report of Pushkar, who died here under mysterious circumstances two years ago. She was the wife of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor.

Calling the report longish, Bassi said: “It will take some time for us to go through the entire report as it also has several annexures. Once we go through the entire report, we will take necessary steps.”

The final report comes in the wake of the Delhi Police receiving the viscera report in November from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), where it was sent to determine the kind of poison that killed Pushkar, after an AIIMS medical board identified poisoning as the reason for her death.

Commenting on the FBI report, Bassi said: “None of the samples contained radio-active elements, according to the FBI.” Earlier, Bassi had tweeted that Deepak Mishra, special commissioner (law and order), was reviewing the progress.

Asked if Tharoor will be interrogated over the issue again, Bassi said the Delhi Police will take all the necessary steps required in the case.

Pushkar, 52, was found dead in a south Delhi hotel room on January 17, 2014.
Countering the claim of Delhi Police, the head of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) forensic department, Dr Sudhir Gupta, has said that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) report “did not rule out the presence of radioactive substances” in Sunanda Pushkar’s viscera samples.

Due to the degraded condition of the viscera samples, however, the agency could not read the intensity of the substances, he said.

“Both the possibilities are there: Somebody could have poisoned her or she may have consumed it on her own. The police should investigate it,” Gupta said over phone here on Friday.

Gupta said the FBI had “confirmed AIIMS report of poisoning” and added that “Delhi Police had sent us the FBI report for review and we’ve further confirmed the cause of death as poisoning”.

“The FBI found a few radioactive substances in the viscera. But due to degraded viscera, they could not read its intensity,” he added.

Asked what could have been the substance that caused death, Gupta said: “Those substances can’t be easily detected.”

The AIIMS medical board in its second opinion in 2014 had listed poisonous substances such as thallium, polonium-210, nerium oleander, snake bites, photolabile poisons, and heroin, which were said to be either undetectable or difficult to detect at Indian laboratories.

According to Gupta, “These substances were listed to broaden the scope of investigation for the police.”

The report given by the board had also stated that “the cause of death was poisoning and the viscera was positive for ethyl alcohol, caffeine, acetaminophen and cotinine”.

Pushkar’s viscera samples were sent to the FBI lab in Washington DC, US, in February last year to determine the poison that may have killed her. Earlier, an AIIMS medical board identified poisoning as the reason for her death. The FBI report was received from the US via email in October 2015. (IANS)