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Indian politician to face trial in wife’s death case

Shashi Tharoor
Shashi Tharoor

Indian politician Shashi Tharoor will have to face trial in the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar. A Delhi court on Tuesday (5) said there was sufficient grounds to charge the Congress politician and has asked Tharoor to appear before a court on July 7.

“I have gone through and perused the chargesheet along with the documents filed along with it, ” additional chief metropolitan magistrate Samar Vishal said. “Cognisance taken on offence regarding abetment to suicide of late Sunanda Pushkar and for committing cruelty upon her. On the basis of the police report, I take cognisance abetment of suicide punishable under 306 IPC and cruelty under 498A IPC. There exists sufficient grounds to proceed against Shashi Tharoor for commission of offence,” he added.

In May, four years after Pushkar was found dead in a hotel in New Delhi, the Delhi Police filed a chargesheet and named Tharoor as an accused in the case. Pushkar killed herself by consuming an overdose of antidepressant pills, alprazolam (Alprax), the chargesheet said, adding that she was driven to take the extreme step by her husband.

Just days before her death, Pushkar reportedly told Tharoor that she had no wish to live.

In an email to her husband, Pushkar said she had lost her will to live and that all she prayed was for death, the Delhi police said in a 3,000-page chargesheet.

“I have no desire to live… all I pray for is death,” Pushkar wrote in an email to her husband just nine days before she was found dead in her suite at a luxury hotel in Delhi.

Some 27 tablets of Alprax were found in her room but it is not clear how many she had. The charge-sheet has described Tharoor “as a husband (who) ignored Sunanda when she was sliding or slipping into depression and she had Alprax.” They had frequent fights and “though injury marks were not serious, they are consistent with claims that the couple fought.”

Tharoor has also been accused of ignoring “her calls and disconnected her calls in the days before her death,” the chargesheet stated.

‘Preposterous and baseless’

Tharoor on Tuesday issued a statement after being summoned by court stating that the charges against him were preposterous and baseless.

“I would like to reiterate my position that I find the charges preposterous and baseless, the product of a malicious and vindictive campaign against myself,” Tharoor said in the statement, which he posted on Twitter.

He also asked “the media to respect my right to privacy as well as that of my family” and said he wouldn’t comment on the issue until the next scheduled hearing of the case.