Sunanda Murder – is it getting hushed up?

Sunanda Murder - is it getting hushed up?
Sunanda Murder - is it getting hushed up?

Sunanda Pushkar, the wife of Shashi Tharoor — former cabinet minister – was murdered on the 17th January 2014 and the Delhi Police concluded that she was murdered after one year namely January 5th 2015 and filed an FIR. She was 51 years old. To her Tharoor was the third husband and for him also she was the third wife.

On 1 July 2014, controversy over her death deepened when AIIMS doctor Sudhir Gupta claimed that he was pressured to give a false report in the case. On October 10, 2014 the medical team probing her death concluded that she died of poisoning.  On January 6, 2015 Delhi Police reported that Sunanda was murdered and filed FIR in the regard.

  • The medical team probing the death of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of former Union minister Shashi Tharoor, concluded that she died of poisoning.
  • The team comprised three doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and was headed by Dr Sudhir Gupta, who had earlier alleged that the team was pressured into giving a ‘tailor-made’ report in the case.
  • The report, accessed by TOI, did not name the specific poison or chemical that caused the death. Instead, it listed a number of poisons that cannot be detected in Indian labs. These include thallium, polonium 210 (a radioactive substance of which a few milligrams is lethal), nerium oleander, snake venom, photolabile poisons and heroin.

This is intriguing since after that there were news that her viscera samples were sent to technical labs in New York USA – to get clarity and final reports from them. After that there is an eloquent silence. One wonders if these are being brought from New York on foot, and even then it should have reached New Delhi by now!

The Delhi police who are conducting the enquiry comes under Central Government and the commissioner is expected to complete his term in the next few months. Why is this relevant, you ask? Lutyens Delhi (like any other capital city) works on a quid-pro-quo system and one hopes that one such deal has not been signed by the Police Chief in exchange for going slow on this murder investigation.

Is anyone in Lootyens Delhi listening?

The Main Stream Media (MSM) which showed some interest in the initial stages of the case has remained silent after that.

Earlier there was a huge controversy about her connection to the IPL team Kochi Tuskers Kerala. She was given given sweat equity worth Rs 700 million ($10.7 million) in Rendezvous Sports World. The company bid for the IPL cricket team Kochi Tuskers Kerala. The company was founded in 2009, while Sunanda Pushkar was made a Director of the company on February 2010, just 18 days before the IPL bid. There were allegations that Shashi Tharoor had misused his ministerial position to ask for a free stake in the company, and that Sunanda was acting as a proxy for him. The controversy ultimately resulted in Shashi Tharoor’s resignation as a minister In April 2010, Sunanda announced that she had relinquished her stake in the company following the controversy. However, she continued to hold the stake, after she was told that there is no provision under the BCCI’s IPL rules for surrender of shares at that stage.

There were reports that Sunanda was planning to have a press conference on the evening of her murder and it was suggested she knew about IPL financing and its complications.

The following questions arise about this case:

  • This is such a high profile case and yet there is no news from MSM about it… Why is it so?
  • Did she die of poisoning or other causes?
  • Why is the Delhi police not showing interest in collecting the report from New York laboratories?
  • Why was there such a hurry in cremating her body?
  • Why was news planted that she was suffering from several diseases when she had no such complications according to Doctors at Trivandrum who had earlier examined her?
  • Delhi police is supposed to have conducted a polygraph test and what are the results of it?
  • Sudhir Gupta had alleged that the “medical team” at AIIIMS was “pressured” into giving a tailor made report in the case. If so who “pressured” them?
  • The husband of the murdered Sunanda namely Tharoor does not seem to be pressurising the Delhi police to find the culprits. How come?

The entire murder case has become a puzzle packed in an enigma and surrounded by a conundrum.

The average citizen is very cynical about our Police/ Judiciary and the perception is that they act as per the “address” of the accused—be it Sanjay Dutt paroles or instant bail to Salman Khan or delaying tactics in the National Herald case.

If the murder of the wife of a minister at Central Government is hushed up or does not come to a fruition in the courts then the cynicism of common man will only be re-inforced.

Is anyone in Lootyens Delhi listening?

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1. The exchange rate used is 1 US Dollar = 65.49 Rupees

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Prof R. Vaidyanathan

Cho S Ramaswamy Visiting Chair Professor of Public policy[CRVCPPP]

Sastra University

An expert in Finance and a two times Fulbright Scholar, Prof. R Vaidyanathan is a much sought after author, speaker and TV commentator on all items related to Money and Finance.
R Vaidyanathan
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  1. I don’t remember any case Delhi police have probed properly and thoroughly all they do is mess up whole case and criminal get released by court..There Probe is so worst that IB catches Terrorists from Nepal and they probe in such a way that they fail to convince Judge and he gets bail and walks free.

    Better would have been that case is given to Tamil Nadu Police of Kerala Police they would have cracked the case by now and case would have seen light.


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