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Sunanda Pushkar death case: Court reserves order on summons to Shashi Tharoor as accused

A Delhi court on Monday reserved its order till June 5 on whether to summon Congress MP Shashi Tharoor as an accused in the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar. Pushkar was found dead in the Leela Palace hotel in New Delhi in January 2014. The Delhi Police had on May 14 charged Tharoor with abetting suicide.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, who took over the case earlier this month, said he would pass the order after the counsel for the prosecution said there was enough evidence to summon the Congress leader.

In the chargesheet, a Special Investigation Team said that Tharoor as a husband “ignored Pushkar when she was sliding or slipping into depression and she had Alprax [a drug]”. “He ignored her calls,” the special team said in the chargesheet. The team added that Tharoor paid no attention to his wife even after she tried to contact him through social media.
In a nearly 3,000-page charge sheet, the police has named Tharoor as the only accused while also alleging that he had subjected his wife to cruelty.

The couple’s domestic servant, Narayan Singh, has been named one of the key witnesses in the case.

Pushkar was found dead in the suite of a luxury hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014.

The Congress leader has been charged under sections 498 A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.

Under section 498A, the maximum punishment is up to three years of imprisonment, while jail term up to 10 years is prescribed under section 306.

The charge sheet, which includes several annexures including medical reports, said that Pushkar died within four years of her marriage with Tharoor. The couple had entered the wedlock on August 22, 2010.

The suite of the South Delhi hotel, where Pushkar had died, was sealed by the police on the night of her death for investigation. An FIR was registered by Delhi Police on January 1, 2015 against unknown persons under IPC section 302 (murder).

According to prosecution sources, the charge sheet has mentioned that Pushkar was allegedly subjected to mental as well as physical cruelty. Tharoor has not been arrested in the case.

The special investigation team (SIT) on April 20 had told the apex court that a draft final report has been prepared after conducting “thorough professional and scientific investigations” in the case relating to the death of Congress MP’s wife.

The Delhi High Court had last year on October 26 dismissed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking court-monitored SIT probe into the death of Pushkar, terming his PIL as a “textbook example of a political interest litigation”, instead of public interest litigation or a PIL.

Later, Swamy had moved the Supreme Court against the High Court order. The top court had then asked him to satisfy it on the question of maintainability of his plea.

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