Congress’ Shashi Tharoor cleared of charges in wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death case
Pushkar was found dead in the suite of a five-star hotel in Delhi on January 17, 2014.
A Delhi court on Wednesday discharged Congress MP Shashi Tharoor in the case related to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar, Live Law reported.
Pushkar was found dead in the suite of a five-star hotel in Delhi on January 17, 2014. The police charged Tharoor in May 2018 with abetment to suicide and marital cruelty under Sections 306 (abetment of suicide) and 498A (cruelty by husband) of the Indian Penal Code.
The court had reserved its order on the matter on April 12.
In a statement soon after the verdict, Tharoor said that the charges against him were “preposterous”. He thanked his counsels, the judge and expressed faith in the Indian judiciary.
“This brings a significant conclusion to the long nightmare which had enveloped me after the tragic passing of my late wife Sunanda,” Tharoor said in the statement.
During the proceedings of the case, Tharoor’s counsel Advocate Vikas Pahwa had argued that charges of abetment of suicide could not be invoked as no conclusive cause could be established behind Pushkar’s death.
Pahwa said the prosecution had failed to establish the reason over a period of four years from 2014 to 2017.
Special Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava, representing the Centre, had contended that Pushkar had sustained injuries before her death.
He submitted that the death was caused due to poisoning and that 27 tablets of Alprax (a tranquiliser brand) were found in her room. He, however, could not specify the number of tablets Pushkar had consumed, according to Bar and Bench.
Shrivastava also contended that Pushkar was subjected to mental cruelty by Tharoor due to controversies about his alleged extra-marital relationship.
Pahwa, meanwhile, cited statements from family members of Pushkar to argue that they never levelled any allegations against the Congress leader.
After the verdict was passed, Pahwa told Bar and Bench that justice has prevailed. “The charges levelled by the police for abetment to suicide and cruelty were absurd and preposterous,” he added. “I am happy that at last after seven years justice has prevailed and he has been honourably discharged from all the charges made by Delhi Police against him.”
Several Congress leaders welcomed the judgment and criticised the BJP for targeting Tharoor.
“The truth always wins,” said Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala. “The constant abuse, innuendos and slander of our colleague Shashi Tharoor by BJP and its crony TV anchors comes to a naught.”
Surjewala asked if Prime Minister Narendra Modi would apologise for his “intemperate remarks” on the case.
In 2012, Modi, then the Gujarat chief minister, had said that Pushkar was once Tharoor’s “50 crore rupee girlfriend”. In response, Pushkar had said that Modi should respect women and not stoop to such levels.
Other Congress leaders also welcomed the verdict on Wednesday. Former Union minister Jairam Ramesh said that Tharoor was “harassed and subjected to vilification, abuse and mental torture” for seven years.
Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra reacted to the verdict with the words “Satyamev Jayate” (truth alone triumphs).