The Rouse Avenue Court of Delhi has cleared Congress MP Shashi Tharoor of all the charges who was a prime accused in the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar in 2014. Calling it absolute torture for seven-and-a-half years, he thanked the judge.
Special Judge Geetanjali Goel announced the verdict during a virtual hearing. Goel thanked the counsel for both parties, informing them that she learnt a lot from this hearing. The court had reserved its orders on April 15 this year.
Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a five-star hotel room in Delhi on January 17, 2014. It was claimed that the couple was staying in a hotel as their Bungalow was being renovated. Medical reports indicated the presence of drugs in the body of the deceased.
The prosecution led by Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Kumar Shrivastava submitted that while post-mortem opined the cause of death was poisoning, there were 15 ante mortem injuries of which were 12 hours to four days old and produced in a scuffle.
To which Tharoor’s lawyer, Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa replied that the cause of Pushkar’s death was yet to be established even though the police took an adventurous route in the probe. He further added, “there are rather reports which say it was neither homicide nor suicide. A psychological autopsy was conducted. They wanted to know the mental status of the victim. But till date, they are not clear whether she committed suicide or it was a homicide.”
“If you cannot establish suicide, then there can be no sec. 306 case. First, you have to establish there has been a suicide. From 2014 to 2017, it has been 4 years. They have given their opinion, it’s neither suicide nor homicide. Again a null in the investigation. Even when the report said there was no suicide, they registered a case under Section 302. They don’t say it’s suicide. Suicide cannot be without intent. I am not talking abetment at the moment. I am talking about suicide For suicide, there has to be intent,” Pahwa said.
Initially, Delhi police had filed an FIR on January 1, 2015, against the unknown person but later booked Shashi Tharoor. He was charge-sheeted (3,000 page) by Delhi police under Section 498-A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and Section 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in 2018 i.e., 4 years after the death of Sunanda Pushkar.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy had also moved a petition seeking his involvement in Tharoor’s prosecution and also sought directions to the police to bring on record a vigilance report alleging destruction of the evidence.
However, Special judge Arun Bhardwaj rejected his request noting that Swamy had “no locus-standi” to file the application. Advocate Pahwa also told the court that Swamy was “an absolute stranger to the case having no connection either with the prosecution, deceased or the accused”.
It was on August 31, 2019, that Delhi police asked the court to prosecute Shashi Tharoor either for abetment to suicide or murder charges in connection to Sunanda Pushkar’s death.