Indian police are treating the death of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of former minister Shashi Tharoor, as murder, nearly a year after her body was found in a hotel room.
Sunanda Pushkar’s death was “not natural and was due to poisoning,” Delhi police chief BS Bassi said.
Initially, doctors said she might have died from an overdose of drugs.
Shashi Tharoor, an Indian lawmaker who married the former Dubai-based businesswoman in 2010, said he was stunned by the news.
“Needless to say I am anxious to see this case is investigated thoroughly and continue to assure the police of my full co-operation,” he said in a statement.
“Although we never thought of any foul play in the death of my wife, we all want that a comprehensive investigation be conducted and that the unvarnished truth should come out.”
BS Bassi said the police had received a “final report” from the doctors saying that Sunanda Pushkar had been poisoned.
“The poison could have been administered orally or it could have been injected. To proceed further in this matter, we have decided to register a case of murder,” he said.
Medical samples would be sent to foreign laboratories to find out the “quantity of poison” found in Sunanda Pushkar’s body.
It is, however, still not clear what poison is believed to have been given to Sunanda Pushkar, and how she could have taken it.
There is also no clarity over the motive of the alleged murder.
Asked why it had taken the police nearly a year to treat the death as murder, BS Bassi said the doctors examining the evidence had sought “additional information” on more than one occasion, and police had provided that.
Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a five-star hotel in Delhi on January 17, 2014.
Shashi Tharoor and Sunanda Pushkar had became embroiled in controversy over a series of Twitter messages before the woman’s death that appeared to reveal he was having an affair with a Pakistani journalist.
Sunanda Pushkar and Shashi Tharoor later insisted they were happily married and blamed “unauthorized tweets” for causing confusion.
Shashi Tharoor has repeatedly called for a swift investigation into the case.
In his statement on January 6, Shashi Tharoor added: “I join all members of Sunanda’s family in asking for full information about the basis on which the police have come to this conclusion.
“We have not been provided with copies of the post-mortem report and other reports of the inquiry… We repeat our request for a copy of these reports to be provided to us immediately.”
A former UN diplomat, Shashi Tharoor was forced to resign from his first ministerial position in 2010 amid controversy over his involvement in bidding for a cricket team.
Sunanda Pushkar had allegedly received a free stake in the Indian Premier League franchise Shashi Tharoor was bidding for.
An investigation into the death of Sunanda Pushkar, the wife of Indian minister Shashi Tharoor, has been ordered by a Delhi magistrate.
Sunanda Pushkar’s body was found in a Delhi hotel room on Friday.
On Tuesday, doctors said she may have died from an overdose of drugs.
Magistrate Alok Sharma directed police to investigate whether the overdose was deliberate or accidental.
Shashi Tharoor and Sunanda Pushkar became embroiled in a row last week after Twitter messages suggested he was having an affair with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar.
Magistrate Alok Sharma told the Indo-Asian News Service news agency that he had ordered the inquiry into Sunanda Pushkar’s death after going through the findings of the autopsy report.
Shashi Tharoor and Sunanda Pushkar became embroiled in a row last week after Twitter messages suggested he was having an affair with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar
“The post-mortem report reveals that she died due to [drug] poison. But it will be too early to say before her viscera report if she had consumed poison, or the drug consumed by her acted as poison,” Alok Sharma said.
Alok Sharma declined to reveal the full findings of the autopsy, but doctors have said that the “preliminary report shows there was drug overdose”.
The autopsy also found “injury marks” on Sunanda Pushkar’s body, but did not say if they were linked to her death.
Meanwhile, Sunanda Pushkar’s son said his mother “was too strong to commit suicide”.
In a press statement released on Tuesday, Shiv Menon said media reports on his mother’s death were “untrue and outrageous” and defended Shashi Tharoor.
“I also do not believe that Shashi was capable of physically harming her, let alone the speculation that he could have taken her life. They were very much in love, despite occasional differences, which they always overcame,” Shiv Menon said.
A public row broke out last week when seemingly private messages between Shashi Tharoor and Mehr Tarar were published on his Twitter feed.
Sunanda Pushkar, 52, said she had gone into her husband’s account and published the messages, accusing Mehr Tarar of stalking her husband – an allegation denied by the Pakistani journalist.
Shashi Tharoor and Sunanda Pushkar later insisted they were happily married and blamed “unauthorized tweets” for causing confusion.
Shashi Tharoor, whose wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a Delhi hotel room on Friday, has called for a swift investigation so that the truth “emerges at the earliest”.
The Indian minister has appeared before a magistrate probing the death of Sunanda Pushkar.
An autopsy found “injury marks” on Sunanda Pushkar’s body, but did not say if they were linked to her death.
The couple became embroiled in a row on Wednesday after Twitter messages suggested Shashi Tharoor was having an affair.
Shashi Tharoor wrote to India’s home minister over the weekend urging him to “issue instructions to the relevant authorities to expedite their investigations and come to a rapid conclusion so that the truth emerges at the earliest”.
He said he was “horrified to read the reckless speculation” over the death in the media.
“I pledge my full and unstinting cooperation. Nothing short of the truth will end the indignity to which my wife and I are being subject at a time when all I seek is to be allowed to grieve in private with her and my near and dear ones,” Shashi Tharoor wrote.
Shashi Tharoor has appeared before a magistrate probing the death of Sunanda Pushkar
On Sunday, Shashi Tharoor gave his testimony to a magistrate who is leading the inquest into Sunanda Pushkar’s death.
Doctors said the autopsy showed “certain injury marks on the body of Ms Pushkar, but the nature of these cannot be revealed”.
They said that initial results showed no sign of poison in her body, but more tests would be carried out.
A public row broke out on Wednesday when seemingly private messages between Shashi Tharoor and Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar were published on his Twitter feed.
Sunanda Pushkar, 52, said she had gone into her husband’s account and published the messages.
She accused Mehr Tarar of stalking her husband – an allegation denied by the Pakistani journalist.
Sunanda Pushkar and Shashi Tharoor later insisted they were happily married and blamed “unauthorized tweets” for causing confusion.
Shashi Tharoor, a former UN diplomat, was forced to resign from his first ministerial position in 2010 amid controversy over his involvement in bidding for a cricket team.
Sunanda Pushkar had allegedly received a free stake in the Indian Premier League franchise he was bidding for.
Shashi Tharoor was appointed minister of state for human resource development in 2012.
Sunanda Pushkar – the wife of Indian Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shahsi Tharoor who was found dead yesterday in a Delhi hotel – was an Indo-Canadian entrepreneur and businesswoman.
She was a sales manager in the Dubai-based TECOM Investments and co-owner of the India-based Rendezvous Sports World.
Sunanda Pushkar was born on January 1st, 1962, in a Kashmiri family of landlords and Indian Army officers native to Bomai. She was the only daughter of Lt. Col. Poshkar Nath Dass and Jaya Dass. Her father PN Dass retired from the army in 1983.
A born rebel, Sunanda Pushkar broke the age-old tradition of Kashmiri Pandits when she attained the first name of her father as her surname albeit with some modification. Poshkar became Pushkar and Sunanda Dass became Sunanda Pushkar.
Sunanda Pushkar was a sales manager in the Dubai-based TECOM Investments and co-owner of the India-based Rendezvous Sports World
Sunanda Pushkar graduated from the Government College for Women in Srinagar, where she studied between 1986 and 1988.
Before marrying Shashi Tharoor, Sunanda Pushkar had been married twice. Her first marriage to fellow Kashmir Pandit and hotel management graduate Sanjay Raina of Srinagar ended in a divorce in 1988. Sanjay Raina’s website describes him as “one of India’s leading stage performers and pop” and who spearheads an entertainment management company. Later Sunanda Pushkar married a Kerala businessman, Sujith Menon, who was dealing with firefighting equipment. Sujith Menon later went to Dubai where he organized some events of south Indian film stars which however flopped. He returned and later died in an accident in Delhi. Their son Shiv was born in November 1992.
Sunanda Pushkar married Shashi Tharoor in 2010, after he was elected to the Indian Parliament. The couple had a Malayali wedding ceremony in Shashi Tharoor’s ancestral home at Elavanchery in Kerala. This was the third marriage for both of them.
Sunanda Pushkar, who was found dead in a Delhi hotel on Friday, was seriously ill, according to a former diplomat and close friend of her husband, Indian Minister Shashi Tharoor.
TP Sreenivasan, who hails from New Delhi and has been a diplomat for more than three decades, told reporters that Shashi Tharoor had informed him of his wife’s illness.
“She had undergone treatment in France recently and after check-ups it was found that she had some serious health issues and he was a worried man. I pacified him after hearing it,” said TP Sreenivasan.
Reports said Sunanda Pushkar and Shashi Tharoor had visited a leading private hospital recently and certain tests were conducted on Pushkar.
Sunanda Pushkar had visited a leading private hospital recently and certain tests were conducted on her
It appears that Sunanda Pushkar was identified with suspected systemic lupus erythematosus (connective tissue disorder) and this is a disease which has no definite treatment.
Sunanda Pushkar had also undergone colonoscopy.
A doctor at the same hospital said he saw the couple quarrelling playfully.
Reports also said Sunanda Pushkar had an appointment at the hospital January 20.
Sunanda Pushkar and Shashi Tharoor were married at Tharoor’s 200-year-old ancestral home in Palakkad in August 2010.
Indian minister Shashi Tharoor has called on the authorities to reveal the name of the New Delhi gang-rape victim so that a new anti-rape law can be named after her.
Junior Education Minister Shashi Tharoor said unless the parents of the 23-year-old medical student objected, she should be honored.
The victim died over the weekend in a Singapore hospital where she was being treated for severe injuries.
The 16th of December attack in a bus has caused a national outcry.
The woman and a male friend had been to see a film when they boarded the bus in the Munirka area of Delhi, intending to travel to Dwarka in the south-west of the city.
Police said she was raped for nearly an hour, and both she and her companion were beaten with iron bars, then thrown out of the moving bus into the street.
On Tuesday, police sources said the driver of the bus had tried to run her over after throwing her out, but she was saved by her friend, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.
Indian minister Shashi Tharoor has called on the authorities to reveal the name of the New Delhi gang-rape victim so that a new anti-rape law can be named after her
Police are expected to formally charge five of six suspects with murder on Thursday. If convicted, they could face the death penalty, which is rarely carried out in India.
The sixth suspect is reported to be under 18 and a juvenile. Police have ordered a bone test for him to confirm his age.
“Wondering what interest is served by continuing anonymity of the Delhi gang rape victim. Why not name and honor her as a real person with own identity?” Shashi Tharoor wrote on the micro-blogging site Twitter late on Tuesday.
“Unless her parents object, she should be honored and the revised anti-rape law named after her. She was a human being with a name, not just a symbol,” he wrote.
Social activist and former police officer Kiran Bedi supported Shashi Tharoor’s idea.
“What Mr. Tharoor has said is maybe unique to India, but is not unique in the world,” Reuters quoted her as saying.
“Many of the American laws… which have been made to perpetuate the memory or the suffering of the victim, only to remember that this is what happened and this is the spirit behind the law… I think it’s a good idea,” she said.
But some critics called Shashi Tharoor’s suggestion “deplorable” and India’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party vowed to “oppose any such move”.
On Tuesday, the victim’s ashes were scatted by her family in the river Ganges.
The brutal assault of the woman has sparked massive public outrage in the country.
It led to huge demonstrations with protesters expressing anger over attitudes to women in India and calling for changes to the laws on violence against women.
The Indian government was also heavily criticized for its response to the attack, which many called “slow” and inadequate.
According to official figures, a woman is raped in Delhi every 14 hours, while women across the country say they are frequently subjected to sexual intimidation and violence.
Officials have since announced a series of measures intended to make the city safer for women.
These include more police night patrols, checks on bus drivers and their assistants, and the banning of buses with tinted windows or curtains.
The government has also set up a committee under a retired Supreme Court judge to recommend changes to the anti-rape law.
Late on Monday, the authorities in Delhi launched a new telephone helpline for women in distress. The 24-hour helpline number 181 will operate out of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit’s office and will be connected with all the 185 police stations across the city.
But many of the protesters say that women are viewed as second-class citizens, and that a fundamental change in culture and attitudes, backed up by law, is needed to protect them.