TIMELINE: Sunanda Pushkar Murder Controversy

06/01/2015 7:48 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST
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MUMBAI, INDIA - APRIL 2: (File photo) Indian politician Shashi Tharoor with his wife Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor outside Wankhede Stadium, while entering to watch ICC cricket World cup Final match between India and Srilanka on April 2, 2011 in Mumbai, India. Sunanda Pushkar, the 52-year-old industrialist wife of Union HRD minister Shashi Tharoor was found dead on Friday at a seven-star hotel where the couple had checked in together a day earlier, the police said. News of her death emerged late in the evening, coming within two days of her Twitter spat with a Pakistani journalist, Mehr Tarar, over an alleged affair with the minister. Pushkar, who has business interests in Dubai and was the Congress minister’s third wife, was found dead in the bedroom of The Leela Palace suite number 345 around 8.15pm. Mehr Tarar, a columnist with Pakistan’s Daily Times, reacted to the news of Pushkar’s death in two consecutive tweets: What the hell. Sunanda. Oh my God and I just woke up and read this. Im absolutely shocked. This is too awful for words. So tragic I dont know what to say. Rest in peace, Sunanda. (Photo by Hemant Padalkar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

January 15, 2014: Shashi Tharoor's (at the time union Human Resources Development minister) Twitter account allegedly hacked, several tweets sent out from his account to Pakistani columnist Mehr Tarar and vice versa. Tharoor claimed his account had been hacked.

January 16, 2014: Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar lashed out against Mehr Tarar on Twitter, claiming she had stalked Tharoor on Twitter and Blackberry. She later told Economic Times that she had posted the tweets from Tharoor's account.

"Our accounts have not been hacked and I have been sending out these tweets. I cannot tolerate this. This is a Pakistani woman who is an ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) agent, and she is stalking my husband. And you know how men are. He is flattered by the attention. I took upon myself the crimes of this man during IPL (Indian Premier League). I will not allow this to be done to me. I just can't tolerate this. I have nothing more to say," Pushkar told ET.

Later Pushkar said that Tharoor and her were "very happy together". They later issued a joint statement stating that Pushkar had been "ill and hospitalised" that week.

Joint statement by Sunanda and Shashi Tharoor on 16th January, 2014:

We are distressed by the unseemly controversy that has arisen about some unauthorised tweets from our Twitter accounts.

Various distorted accounts of comments allegedly made by Sunanda have appeared in the press. It appears that some personal and private comments responding to these unauthorised tweets—comments that were not intended for publication—have been misrepresented and led to some erroneous conclusions.

We wish to stress that we are happily married and intend to remain that way. Sunanda has been ill and hospitalised this week and is seeking to rest. We would be grateful if the media respects our privacy.

After Mehr Tarar told Indian media that Pushkar was "imagining things," Pushkar claimed that she had Tarar's emails and Blackberry messages to Tharoor.

January 17, 2014: Sunanda Pushkar found dead under mysterious circumstances in Hotel Leela Palace in New Delhi. She was found in suite number 345 by her husband Shashi Tharoor, who had reportedly returned from an all-day Congress event. An inquest under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code was also initiated, which applies when a woman dies within the first seven years of marriage, under Indian law. Tharoor and Pushkar had been married four years.

January 19, 2014: A postmortem report on Pushkar's death at AIIMS said that it was a "sudden, unnatural death" with "certain injuries in her body." The initial report indicated "drug overdose," Dr. Sudhir Gupta told Times of India, saying that it was unlikely that the injuries had caused death. Meanwhile, Indian Express reported that Tharoor and Pushkar had a fight the day before her death and that two attendants had been in the hotel suite when Pushkar had died.

Pushkar's doctors in Kerala, who had treated her days before her death, said that she had not been diagnosed with any life-threatening disease that could have caused her death. Tharoor gives his statement to the subdivisional magistrate (SDM).

sunanda pushkar

January 21, 2014: An autopsy report conducted by the SDM found that Pushkar had died of poisoning. The SDM asked police to investigate the cause of poisoning.

January 23, 2014: Case transferred to the Crime Branch, which asked for advanced forensic tests to determine cause of death.

July 1, 2014: Dr. Sudhir Gupta, who headed the panel conducting the post mortem on Pushkar, filed an affidavit to the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) alleging he was pressured to "cover up the matter" and give a "tailor-made report."

October 10, 2014: A fresh forensic report on the case was submitted by AIIMS to Delhi Police on September 30, which the cops called "inconclusive."

November 9, 2014: Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy indicated that he may file a public interest litigation (PIL) demanding a :court-monitored probe into the mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar."

January 6, 2015: Delhi Police registered a murder case against unknown persons in the case.

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