The Delhi police just had its 'Ashwatthama is dead' moment.
In a classic case of revealing what is convenient and concealing what is not, just as Yudhisthir did in the Mahabharata, the Delhi Commissioner of Police BS Bassi claimed on Friday that Sunanda Pushkar's death was not natural.
"As far as evidences are concerned until now, Sunanda Pushkar's death was unnatural. I can say this with certainty," Bassi told reporters on Friday.
The trigger for Bassi's revelation of India's worst-kept secret is reportedly an analysis by a medical board of the AIIMS of the analysis of Pushkar's viscera report by the FBI. The board was asked to study the analysis of the viscera report after the FBI ruled out the use of Polonium --a theory propounded by Subramanian Swamy--in Sunanda's death.
"There was no radioactive substance in Sunanda's body. But there were certain points that needed analysis. So we referred it to the AIIMS," Bassi said.
The AIIMS board, reports said, found evidence that her death was caused by poison.
It has been exactly two years since Pushkar, the beautiful, vivacious and apparently healthy wife of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor was found dead in a five-star hotel in Delhi. Considering the wall-to-wall coverage of her death and its circumstances, it would be a miracle to find anybody who is convinced that Mrs Tharoor died of a natural cause like a heart attack, a bout of pneumonia or some undisclosed malignancy.
Of course, the Hercule Poirot in all Indian men and Miss Marple in every Indian woman knows Sunanda died suddenly, without a natural cause.
What all of us are keen to know is this: Was she killed? And, if yes, by whom and why?
Even a year ago, forensic experts had argued that Sunanda died of poison. What we need to know now is- was the poison injected into her veins, thrust down her throat? Or did she die because she overdosed on a cocktail of prescription drugs--Alprax prime suspect-- nicotine and alcohol?
So far, the Delhi police hasn't told us. Correction: the Delhi police has not been able to tell us. It has just kept the suspense alive, the story hot and fingers pointed at her husband with well-timed, ambiguous revelations.
From Bassi's statement, it is clear the Delhi police still does not know what killed Sunanda. It still appears caught in the trap of believing in the poisoning theory and is doing its best to find evidence to support it.
And the way the probe has progressed, it seems unlikely the cops will reach a conclusion in the near future.
When she was found lying in a hotel just a few days after ‘threatening to reveal lots’ of secrets, initial reports suggested the cause was natural. A few days later, however, the cops changed their mind and claimed it was a case of murder.
The needle of suspicion was turned towards two men who had entered the hotel room. The suspects, we were told, were allegedly linked to a cricket betting syndicate. Some even suggested at the role of hit men from Pakistan, a flight of fancy inspired perhaps by Sunanda's public fight with journalist and Tharoor's friend Mehr Tarar.
In two years, we have heard nothing about the men or the betting syndicate.
Then there was the noise of the super sleuths. Swamy claimed it was Polonium. Some medical experts argued a high dose of acetaminophen (paracetamol) had killed Sunanda. The cops claimed there was no CCTV footage, there were no eyewitnesses. Yet, they claimed, the scene had been dressed up, like in the case of Aarushi Talwar.
To add to this confusion, Sunanda's family insinuated that she had undergone diagnostic tests for systemic lupus (an autoimmune disease) and possibly tuberculosis. But none of these ailments, even if she had them, kill suddenly and instantly.
Obviously, Tharoor's rivals won't mind the timing of the recycled revelation. Elections in Kerala are on the horizon and keeping Tharoor guessing suits his enemies both inside and outside the Congress.
After all, disarming the rival with half truths is a no-risk ploy that has been tried with epic success.
Ashawtthama is dead. Who cares if it was a beast or a man!