The Delhi Police on Saturday pushed for the murder charge against senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor in connection with the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.
However, the murder charge is being pushed alternatively to the charge of abetment of suicide.
Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava prayed to the court to frame charges against Tharoor under section 498A (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty), 306 (abetment of suicide) or in an alternative section 302 (murder) of the IPC.
Opposing the same, Tharoor’s counsel Vikas Pahwa said, “Now my friend is becoming adventurous, his inferences are now beyond the charge sheet. In four years, they couldn’t even prove the cause of death.”
Arguments made by the prosecutor are contrary to the bare reading of the chargesheet, Shashi Tharoor’s lawyer argued.
“He (prosecutor) read the evidence in bits and pieces and tried to connect with the charges proposed by him, contrary to the settled principles of law,” he said. “He did not read the opinions of experts who conducted a psychological autopsy, who held that it is neither a case of homicide nor suicide but due to some unidentified biological reasons. If there is no evidence of suicide, where is the question of abetment to suicide?” Pahwa asked.
“There is nothing in the statements of the family or friends, which shows that Tharoor has ever treated her (Sunanda) with cruelty. On the contrary, there are many statements which say that he had always treated Sunanda with civility and respect, but not read,” the lawyer added.
Public Prosecutor Srivastava, during the course of hearing had told the court that the forensic analysis of the statements has opined that Pushkar was distressed, felt betrayed in marital life, hadn’t eaten in the last few days and had self-injurious conduct along with suicidal ideation prior to her death because of a disturbed relationship with her husband.
The prosecution said that the doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences had opined, “The cause of death to the best of my knowledge is poisoning, which was ultrazole poisoning. All the injuries caused by a blunt force which came up during a scuffle except one injection mark and a teeth mark.”
“Three things could have been there. She might have taken the same or someone administered it orally or injected or was forcibly given,” the public prosecutor said.
The prosecution further told the Delhi court that Shashi Tharoor and Pakistani journalist Meher Tarar had spent three nights together in Dubai while citing the statement of Sunanda Pushkar’s journalist friend.
Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava read out the statement of journalist Nalini Singh, who was the friend of the deceased. The statement said: “I knew Sunanda for 3-4 years. For last one year, she started sharing about her personal life. She shared her relationship with Tharoor and told me that Tharoor and Tarar spent three nights together.
“I got a call from her phone a day before her death, she was weeping that Tharoor and Tarar shared romantic messages. The message read that Shashi Tharoor would divorce Sunanda after the general elections. His family was also supportive of this decision,” the statement said.
Srivastava also cited the Tarun Tejpal judgment by the Supreme Court saying, “even mental torture may amount to cruelty.”
“This was the third marriage of both parties. The mental torture has led her to commit suicide,” he said.
Special CBI Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar has posted the matter for October 17, as the next date of hearing, when the defence will commence its arguments.
Tharoor’s lawyer said that he will argue on the next date, rebutting on each and every point. “I can say that every bit of evidence collected by the SIT speaks just the opposite to what the Prosecutor has argued today,” he aid.
Sunanda Pushkar was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a suite of a Delhi hotel on the night of January 17 in 2014. The couple was staying in the hotel as their house was undergoing renovation.
(With inputs from IANS)