Seven year old mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar started moving again in a Special Court
After three years of long arguments and counter-arguments, a Delhi Special Court on Monday reserved for orders on framing of charges in the more than seven-year-old mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Congress leader and former Minister Shashi Tharoor. After hearing both Tharoor and Delhi Police, Special Judge Geetanjali Goel listed the matter for order on April 29. In case the order is not prepared by then, a short date will be given, she added.
Delhi Police Special Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava reiterated adding murder charges on Shashi Tharoor and pointed out the chances of injecting sleeping pill Alprazolam on Sunanda’s body. By late 2018, the Delhi Police charge-sheeted Tharoor under Section 498A (cruelty) and 306 (abetment to suicide) only. Later, during arguments in November 2019, DP pressed prosecution under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code.
Shashi Tharoor’s Advocate Vikas Pahwa, on the other hand, reiterated that there has been no definite opinion on Sunanda’s cause of death.
Sunanda was found dead in Hotel Leela in New Delhi on January 17, 2014, within a few hours after she announced and called certain media persons for exposing the IPL Cricket manipulations involving Shashi Tharoor. That time Tharoor who was engaged in a quarrel with her was a Union Minister and the Delhi Police first probe team hushed up the case, though AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Science) postmortem report clearly laid out the presence of poisonous substances and huge doses of Alprazolam in her body. Later, in January 2015, Delhi Police registered FIR for murder charges without naming Shashi Tharoor. Though Tharoor was questioned by Delhi Police more than three times, DP preferred to avoid arresting him for further interrogation.
In 2018, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy who lost the case in Delhi High Court went up to Supreme Court. After getting notice from Supreme Court, within days Delhi Police filed the charge sheet in trial court registering abetment to suicide and domestic violence against Shashi Tharoor.
As per the Prosecution on Monday, Sunanda was a completely healthy person and the cause of her death was poisoning due to the consumption of Alprazolam. Sunanda, according to the Prosecution, was subjected to mental cruelty by her husband on account of the several controversies surrounding his alleged extramarital relationships. Prosecutor Srivastava on Monday took the court through a conversation between the husband-wife duo to submit that Tharoor “mentally abused” wife “through neglect”. He further pointed out that Sunanda had accused Shashi Tharoor of “destroying her faith” and “abandoning her”.
As far as the framing of alternative charge under Section 302 IPC was concerned, the Delhi Police Prosecutor stated that the medical experts had “not ruled out” the possibility of Alprazolam being injected into Pushkar while saying that it was orally administered.
While Srivastava argued that the Prosecution was “doing its best” and the truth would come out “when a person is in the dock”, Judge Geetanjali Goel questioned if the prosecution can be based on “if, may, but”. “Something has to be established…they are saying may have been injected. Can prosecution be based on supposition?” she asked. The Court also noted that the quantity of the drug or even its tentative quantity which could have caused poisoning or its impact on the age of the consumer had not come on record.
Shashi Tharoor’s Advocate Vikas Pahwa, on the other hand, reiterated that there has been no definite opinion on Sunanda’s cause of death. “Prosecutor can’t replace evidence with opinion,” Pahwa said as he argued that “injectable theory was a figment of imagination” and could not be the basis to frame charge under Section 302 IPC.
He further argued that evidence to suggest mental cruelty was “innocuous” and that even the existence of a relationship outside of marriage was not enough to support a case of Section 306 IPC. “Marriages have their ups and downs but they want to read between the line, where is not there. It is not permissible in law,” Pahwa argued. In the absence of any “grave suspicion” or material, no charges can be framed against Tharoor, it was contended.
 Delhi Court reserves order on framing of charges against Shashi Tharoor in Sunanda Pushkar death case – Apr 12, 2021, Bar and Bench
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