Sunanda Pushkar Had Visitor Before Death, Had Fights With Tharoor, Says Domestic Help

09/01/2015 2:07 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST
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NEW DELHI, INDIA - MARCH 7: (File photo) Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor and Shashi Tharoor, External Affairs Minister, during a friendly cricket match between FICCI and Ministry of External Affair (MEA) at Modern School Barakhamba on March 7, 2010 in New Delhi, 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 Ronjoy Gogoi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Sunanda Pushkar, the deceased wife of Congress member of parliament Shashi Tharoor, had a visitor in her room at the Leela Hotel two days before her death and had fought with her husband through the night, according to a news report.

The Times of India claims to have accessed a statement made to Delhi police by the couple's domestic help Narayan Singh. The report says that Sunanda called Tharoor on the phone and told him he was finished, as she had made disclosures to the media. There was no indication of what she might have been referring to.

The report also said Singh told investigators that Pushkar had a visitor called Sunil and that he helped Pushkar copy some messages and tweet from her phone. A couple of days before her death, some personal tweets on Shashi Tharoor's timeline were presumably posted by her. The content of those tweets was messages sent to Tharoor from Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar.

According to this report, Singh said Pushkar argued with Tharoor often, and once had a physical fight in Dubai where Tharoor's foot was injured. The day before she died, they had a long argument until early morning. Singh claims to have worked for Tharoor since October 22, 2010.

Tharoor is at an ayurvedic hospital in Kerala, for treatment related to problems in his shoulder. The Delhi police have said they are going to question him, and he might be in Delhi in a couple of days.

Delhi Police took its time, almost a year, to register a case of murder in connection with Pushkar's death. New details on the case have been emerging since that time, after investigators questioned Singh two days ago. A medical report had concluded last year that her death was unnatural and due to poisoning.

Pushkar had publicly accused Tharoor of infidelity and the resulting scandal had unfolded on Twitter after her tweets. The controversy was raging when she suddenly died last January at the age of 52. Tharoor, who in the past has been minister of state for external affairs and a top official at the United Nations, has maintained that Pushkar died of natural causes.

On Wednesday night, Tharoor's staff received a notice from police asking Singh to join the probe. "Narayan was in Himachal Pradesh. He came here today (Thursday) morning and left for the police station," a staff member at Tharoor's residence here told IANS. Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi said they had not sent any legal notice to Tharoor to join the probe yet.

Tharoor, in a letter to Bassi dated Nov 12, had accused the Delhi Police of trying to implaicate him and Singh in the murder of his wife. Tharoor said Delhi Police officers interrogated Singh for 16 hours Nov 7 and for 14 hours Nov 8.

The first FIR (first information report) in the death of Pushkar suggests that she sustained multiple physical injuries for upto four days before her death. It is unclear how she received these injuries, though at least one of them is a teeth bite mark, while another is an injection mark, according to the police report which was registered on January 1 this year, nearly a year after she was found dead in a Delhi hotel room.

According to the FIR, the first official document that reveals the full sequence of events in the case, the Sarojini Nagar police received a call around 9 pm on January 17, 2014, from Shashi Tharoor's secretary Abhinav Kumar, saying that Pushkar had "done something" in Hotel Leela Palace's room number 345. When the police staff rushed to the spot, they found her dead in the bedroom of the hotel suite. Tharoor, a former United Nations diplomat, was at the time the union human resources development minister and is currently a member of Parliament.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Pushkar had checked into the hotel on January 15 at 5.48 pm. Since Pushkar had been married to Tharoor for less than seven years, the Vasant Vihar subdivisional magistrate (SDM) Alok Sharma was notified, who inspected the bedroom and ordered inquest proceedings. As per Indian law, if a woman dies within seven years of her marriage, an inquest must be conducted. It is a provision meant to protect women from harassment over dowry.

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