Live: Sunanda Pushkar murder case should be probed without political pressure, says Tharoor

In a dramatic twist to the Sunanda Pushkar death case, the Delhi Police confirmed that she was murdered, with medical board calling her death 'unnatural'. We follow updates and reactions live.

Rohini Chatterji January 09, 2015 18:18:08 IST
Live: Sunanda Pushkar murder case should be probed without political pressure, says Tharoor

5.06 pm: I don't engage in public debates for TRPs, says Shashi Tharoor

In a press conference in Thrissur, Kerala, Shashi Tharoor said that he had lost his wife and had not been allowed to mourn in peace due to media reports, many of which had been based on misinformation and lies, according to Tharoor.

"As you know, I issued a statement after the Delhi police filed an FIR in connection with the tragic demise of my wife. I was completely taken aback because no one in the family believed foul play was involved. Everyone loved her deeply," said Tharoor. "I pledged complete cooperation with the police to help them establish the facts and get to the bottom of this."

The Delhi police has been questioning Shashi Tharoor as a witness in the Sunanda Pushkar murder case.

On his silence on the issue, Tharoor said, "Some have been saying that my silence is sinister. But I have been silent the entire year. I have been silent for obvious reasons. When there is a police inquiry, it is my duty to not undermine the police investigation by making unnecessary public statements. That would be an insult to police investigation. I have always stressed on letting the police do their work. I am not here to engage in public debates for TRPs. We will do anything that we can do to help them (the police) to solve this."

"I am surprised with this development. I had a number of concerns and questions in connection with the way the investigations have been conducted so far. I have written at some length to the police commissioner in detail, which should be discussed by the police tomorrow," said the Congress leader.

"There has been a lot of public attention and controversy on this issue based on misinformation and sometimes outright lies," he said. "I hope that this investigation will now be carried on without any political pressure and predetermined outcomes."

Tharoor expressed disappointment over the delay in the investigation. "I requested a speedy inquiry into the case but we had to wait for a year before the FIR was filed," Tharoor said. "I have lost my wife and have not been allowed to mourn in peace for an entire year."

He also said that he had given more details to the police and reiterated that he will not frequently make public statements. "I hope for a professional police investigation," he said. "In the meantime, I request the media to have some heart for the surviving family members and maintain some decency in reporting on such issues."

Tharoor also posted tweets about the news conference.

9 Jan, 3.45 pm: Police receieves report on Sunanda Pushkar's cellphones, laptop

Delhi police received a report on the three mobile phones and laptop of Sunanda Pushkar and will release information on the results found after investigation, according to Times Now.

End of updates for 8 January

6.59 pm: SIT interrogates Tharoor's domestic help

The Special Investigating Team of Delhi Police probing the death of Sunanda Pushkar interrogated Shashi Tharoor's domestic help.

Sources told PTI that Tharoor's domestic help Narayan Singh was interrogated at an undisclosed location in South Delhi. He was interrogated by police at least twice earlier.

Singh, who was in Himachal Pradesh, came to Delhi this morning after investigators asked him last night to join the probe.

4.43 pm: Tharoor to leave ayurvedic centre tomorrow

Shashi Tharoor will leave the ayurvedic treatment centre in Kerala by tomorrow, said media reports. Tharoor had been undergoing treatment at this centre till now.

"Tharoor was busy finishing his book and he was undergoing a 14-day general wellness programme for ailments like frozen shoulder and stiffness," owner of Perumbayil Ayurveda Mana (ayurveda centre) Sajeev Kurup told IANS.

8 Jan, 3.34 pm: Did not send legal notice to Tharoor, says Bassi

Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi clarified that they have not issued any legal notice to Congress MP Shashi Tharoor in connection with the death of Sunanda Pushkar.

"We have not issued any formal legal notice to Shashi Tharoor in connection with the probe into his wife's death. Whatever needed is being done to investigate," Bassi said.

"The investigating officer has to collect more information and all evidences are being examined and verified," he added. - PTI

End of updates for 7 January

5.09 pm: Cop tried to implicate me in Sunanda's murder case, Tharoor told Bassi

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor has said that a Delhi Police official had attempted to implicate him in the murder of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.

In a letter to Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi dated 12 November 2014 and accessed by the media on Wednesday, Tharoor urged the police chief to take action against the concerned officer, an IANS report said.

Tharoor said that four Delhi Police officers interrogated his domestic help Narayan Singh last month — for 16 hours on 7 November and for 14 hours 8 November.

Live Sunanda Pushkar murder case should be probed without political pressure says Tharoor

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor. AFP

On both days, Tharoor alleged that Narayan Singh was "repeatedly physically assaulted by one of your officers."

"Worse, that officer used the traumatic physical assault to try and intimidate Narayan into 'confessing' that he and I murdered my wife," the former central minister said.

Tharoor recalled that he expressed his concerns to Bassi over telephone 8 November night.

"As you graciously agreed, such conduct is completely unacceptable and illegal," Tharoor said in his letter. "It also amounts to the use of physical coercion in the attempt to frame an innocent man.

"I would request you to take immediate and appropriate action against such unlawful misconduct of the officer concerned.

"My staff and I have always made ourselves available for any kind of inquiry and investigation but the recent behaviour of the officers towards my staff is a matter of serious concern to any law abiding citizen.

"Please look into the matter personally and ensure that the unvarnished truth comes out in this case."

Tharoor said he had "complete trust and faith" in Delhi Police and that he was committed to "fully cooperating with the investigations to ensure the timely completion of the inquiry".

The letter became public knowledge a day after Delhi Police announced that Sunanda, found dead in a hotel a year ago, was poisoned to death.

Shashi Tharoor's Letter

11. 30 am: SIT set up to probe Sunanda Pushkar's death case

Delhi Police commissioner Bassi said that a Special Investigation Team has been set up to probe Pushkar's death case. "We have constituted a SIT that will be monitored by DCPs and ACPs," Bassi told reporters.

"Whatever can be shared with the media will be done as and when more details emerge," he said.

Asked if Tharoor will be questioned in the case, he said that it will be done if necessary. "All the necessary steps will be taken," he added.

10.45 am: Report not my personal opinion, it's that of the medical board: Dr Sudhir Gupta

AIIMS Forensic Head Dr Sudhir Gupta today said that the forensic report submitted to the authorities was not his personal opinion but that of the medical board comprising three doctors.

"This is a matter of detailed investigation... the report is a combined opinion of medical board and not my personal opinion. There are three doctors on the board."

When asked about the use of polonium, Dr Gupta refused to answer saying it was out of his professional ambit.

10. 00 am: Shashi Tharoor to be questioned in Sunanda's death case

Delhi police have confirmed that Shashi Tharoor will be questioned as a witness in the Sunanda Pushkar case along with other witnesses. According to reports, Tharoor's secretary will also be questioned. Tharoor has earlier deposed before the court as a witness in the case.

9. 00 am: Delhi police to send viscera samples to Britain or US

Delhi Police, which have registered a case of murder in the mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar, will send her viscera samples to a laboratory either in Britain or the United States to identify the poison that caused her death, according to PTI.

Police want to confirm if the poison was radioactive isotopes, which cannot be detected in Indian labs. "The viscera samples may now be sent to an FBI lab in the US or lab in UK," said a senior police official.

8. 10 am:  Expect free, fearless probe in Pushkar case, says BJP

The BJP on  Tuesday asked Delhi Police to carry out a "free, fearless, and favourless" investigation in the death of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor.

"The BJP's mindset is investigative agencies should do their job freely, fearlessly, without favour. And the truth should come out," said Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Nalin Kohli.

Based on the final medical report from AIIMS that called it a case of "unnatural death", Delhi Police Tuesday registered an FIR against unknown people for murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code nearly a year after Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel in the capital.

Delhi Police chief B.S. Bassi said Pushkar was poisoned to death, but whether the poison was administered orally or injected into her body was still under investigation.

BJP leader G.V.L. Narasimha Rao said the confusion stood resolved as it was now clear that Pushkar's death was a case of murder and not a suicide, as it was perceived initially.

He said the case was not an act of political vendetta by the ruling party, and the BJP would see it as just "another case of crime".

"There is no politics in this, so BJP would simply see this as another case of crime. Delhi Police is quite capable of handling this investigation and will ensure punishment for the accused."

7 Jan, 7: 40 am: Homicide or suicide?

The three-member medical panel at AIIMS, chaired by head of forensics Dr Sudhir Kumar Gupta, has maintained its stand from the initial report on 20 January last year that poisoning was the cause of Sunanda Pushkar’s death. According to reports, initial autopsy results suggested that Pushkar may have overdosed on anti-depressants and sleeping pills. Hindustan Times reported that the police is tight-lipped about the motive. "The investigation would be monitored by the DCP (South). Investigating officials said that they would ask witnesses to join the probe again, reported HT.

Police sources told Indian Express that one among the many queries sent to the autopsy board for clarification was if it is a case of “homicide” or “suicide”.  "The board in response reportedly told the police that homicide cannot be ruled out as the sudden and unnatural death occurred due to poisoning. It is, however, not established if the poison was administered orally or injected," reported Express.

End of updates for 6 January

10.06 pm: Sunanda's viscera samples to be sent to FBI laboratory

Delhi Police, which have registered a case of murder in the mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar, will send her viscera samples to a laboratory either in Britain or the US to identify the poison including whether it could be radioactive isotopes that cannot be detected in Indian labs.

"The viscera samples may now be sent to an FBI lab in the US or lab in UK," said a senior police official.

Earlier medical reports had mentioned 12 injury marks on Sunanda's body including an injection mark on her hand and a teeth bite.

Doctors from the medical board had visited the crime spot (suite of the five-star hotel) in the first week of November along with police officials where they examined the room and lifted samples.

7.52 pm: Oppn CPM, BJP in Kerala demand Shashi Tharoor's resignation

Opposition CPI-M and BJP in Kerala today demanded resignation of Shashi Tharoor as Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram in the wake of the Delhi police registering a murder case in connection with the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar a year ago.

CPI-M veteran and State Opposition leader VS Achuthanandan wanted the Congress leadership to ask Tharoor to quit the parliament seat which he won for a second time in the Lok Sabha polls last year.

In a statement here, Achuthanandan asked the Congress' central leadership to tender an apology to the people for fielding Tharoor for the second time despite him coming under the shadow of suspicion for the death of his wife.

"Tharoor's continuance as an MP is legally and morally wrong since the Delhi police had made it clear that he would be questioned in the case," Achuthanandan said.

BJP state president V Muraleedharan came down heavily on the Congress leadership for putting up Tharoor as its candidate in the Lok Sabha polls and making him national spokesperson of the party even after he came under the cloud of suspicion.

The party leadership should now ask Tharoor to step down and apologise to the people and pave way for a bye-election in the constituency, Muraleedharan told a press meet here.

BJP's O Rajagopal finished a close runner-up to Tharoor in the Lok Sabha polls in May with the LDF candidate getting relegated to the third slot.

7.00 pm: Wasn't expecting this, says Sunanda Pushkar's brother on murder report

Even as the controversy regarding Sunanda Pushkar's death re-surfaced with the Delhi Police registering a case of murder, Pushkar's brother Ashish Dass said the he was in shock.

"I am totally in shock. We were not expecting this at all. the whole family is devastated. We want the police to go into detail and find out the truth," Dass said

He said, "I never thought it could be this serious a thing. We want the police to get to the bottom of this."

5.35 pm: Sunanda Pushkar's death was homicidal in nature, AIIMS report had said

According the television reports the Delhi Police has said that the medical report in the death case from AIIMS had mentioned that her death was 'homicidal in nature'

It was the same report that also said Pushkar was poisoned with Polonium 210, a radioactive substance

4.05 pm: Stunned to hear of murder case, says Shashi Tharoor on Sunanda's death

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor reacted to the news of his wife's death being a murder saying he was stunned and said that he was ready to co-operate with the police.

"I am stunned to hear that the Delhi Police have filed a case of murder against unknown persons in the demise of my late wife Sunanda. Needless to say I am anxious to see this case is investigated thoroughly and continue to assure the Police of my full co-operation," Tharoor said in a statement.

"Although we never thought of any foul play in the death of my wife, we all want that a comprehensive investigation be conducted and that the unvarnished truth should come out," he said.

He said that he would ask the police for full information about the findings in the case.

"We have not been provided with copies of the post-mortem report and other reports of the inquiry like the CFSL report till date. We repeat our request for a copy of these reports to be provided to us immediately," he said.

Live Sunanda Pushkar murder case should be probed without political pressure says Tharoor

Sunanda Pushkar. PTI

4.03 pm: Sunanda Pushkar couldn't have been murdered without Tharoor's involvement, says cousin

Sunanda Pushkar's cousin who had earlier said that the family had always know that she was murdered, is now saying her death couldn't have happened unless Tharoor was involved in it.

"We want Tharoor to be interrogated. Without Tharoor's involvement, this murder couldn't have taken place. We are satisfied that the investigation is going in the right direction," said Ashok Kumar.

"We always knew that this was a case of murder. This decision (taken by the police) was delayed. We had said from the beginning that this was a murder case. We want punishment to be given to the people involved in this murder," he said.

3.55 pm: Polonium poisoning may have caused Sunanda Pushkar's death, says Delhi Police

Now the police is saying the Polonium 210 could have been the poison that led to Sunanda Pushkar's death.

According to Times Now, Delhi Police suspects Polonium poisoning as it was also present in the AIIMS report.

3.40 pm: Hope investigation is finished soon, says BJP's GVL Narasimha Rao

BJP's GVL Narasimha Rao said that the party hoped that the investigation into Sunanda Pushkar's murder led to a conclusive end.

"We certainly hope the investigation is finished soon. This is a high profile case. If justice is not done soon, justice would suffer," he said.

"The Delhi police is capable of finding the truth. Hope the probe reaches conclusion soon." he said.

3.20 pm: We always knew that this was a case of murder, says Sunanda Pushkar's cousin

Sunanda Pushkar's cousin Ashok Kumar in a statement said that the family always new it was murder.

"We always knew that this was a case of murder, this decision was delayed," Kumar told ANI

Live Sunanda Pushkar murder case should be probed without political pressure says Tharoor

Subramanian Swamy. PTI

3.15 pm: Shashi Tharoor is a liar, says Subramanian Swamy on Sunanda Pushkar murder

Subramanian Swamy reacting to the news said that he had always known that she knew the truth.

"Only crime Sunanda committed was that she wanted to tell the truth, even the hotel has to be investigated," Swamy said.

He added, "I want to establish a principle, no matter who it is. There is a right to life. No one can deprive it."

"Happy that police has finally developed nerve to register an FIR, this was a murder of involving money," he said.

Replying to a follower, Swamy also said:

He also blamed Shashi Tharoor saying, "Shashi Tharoor is a liar, the more he opens his mouth the more trouble he is going to get into."

3.05 pm: Police have said nothing against Shashi Tharoor, says Cong's Rashid Alvi

Meanwhile, Congress' Rashid Alvi said that the police should conduct the investigations with honesty, even as he questioned why it took a year to come up with this finding.

"Now the police has filed an FIR. There should be any action out of revenge. Why did the police keep this pending for one year?," Alvi said.

"Police should conduct investigation with honesty. 302 is not an ordinary charge. How the investigation is conducted is police's responsibility. Till then, no claims made by the police point anything against Shashi Tharoor," Alvi added.

3.01 pm: We first need to establish who murdered Sunanda, says Congress

In a reaction to the news that came in, Congress' Renuka Chowdhury said speculations should be set aside since it wasn't a political issue.

"It would be a dangerous thing to accuse everyone, we first need to establish who murdered Sunanda," Chowdhury said.

"Delhi police must ask Subramanian Swamy as to how did he get the information How does this become a party issue? It is a personal issue," she added.

2.30 pm: Sunanda Pushkar was murdered, says Delhi Police in shocking twist

In a dramatic twist to the Sunanda Pushkar death case, the Delhi Police confirmed on Tuesaday that she was murdered, with the medical board calling her death 'unnatural'.

Live Sunanda Pushkar murder case should be probed without political pressure says Tharoor

Sunanda Pushkar. AFP

According to Times Now Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi has said that a case of murder will be registered soon.

A year after the death of MP Shashi Tharoor's wife, the Medical Board said that her death was 'unnatural' and was because of poisoning.

ANI quoted Bassi as saying, "Medical report says she was poisoned, oral or injected we do not know, it is being investigated."

"We have to investigate whether she poisoned herself or whether she was forcefully given poison," Bassi told the media.

"We are taking all necessary measures in the case. It is clear that Sunanda Pushkar's death was not natural," Bassi said and added, "The Post-mortem report does not say whether poison was taken or injected. Need to send samples abroad for further tests."

CNN-IBN reported that an FIR has been registered under Section 302 (murder) and other relevant sections. "The FIR is not against any particular person," Bassi said.

"We can only say which substance caused the poisoning after further investigation," Bassi said.

The police also said that Shashi Tharoor will be questioned.

Pushkar was found dead in her hotel room number 345 of the Leela Palace in New Delhi's Chanakyapuri. Her body was found by her husband Shashi Tharoor.

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