NEW DELHI -- The special investigation team (SIT) probing the Sunanda Pushkar murder case have suddenly termed three key witnesses in her death as "suspects" in a report submitted to a Delhi court. In the SIT report, a copy of which has been seen by HuffPost India journalists, cops have alleged that Narain Singh (the domestic help), the driver Bajrangi, and Shashi Tharoor's friend Sanjay Dewan, are "lying" despite being "very well acquainted with the facts" surrounding her death. They now want to conduct a polygraph (lie detector) test on them to ascertain what they are allegedly hiding.
Pushkar, wife of then Congress minister Shashi Tharoor, was found dead in a Delhi hotel room in January 2014 under mysterious circumstances, days after she had a public fallout with her husband over an alleged affair.
However Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi remained ambiguous on the development. "One shouldn't read in between lines of the SIT application," he said on Friday. "Investigating officers felt the need to do a polygraph test," he said, adding that the IO would decide if Tharoor would be subjected to a similar exercise. The cops are waiting for the results of the viscera report from FBI.
Metropolitan magistrate Sunil Kumar Sharma at the Patiala House Court on Thursday issued summons to the three men saying "all the three suspects to be present in court on May 20."
Here are some of the inconsistencies in their statements that led cops to change their status to "suspects" instead of witnesses.
1. Power Cut On Day Of Murder
All three suspects, who were present in the room where Pushkar was found murdered, did not tell police about a power cut that took place on the day of the murder, at around 7 pm. This was just before Pushkar was found dead, say police. Interestingly cops said in the report that the three suspects were "very much present in the room along with Shashi Tharoor".
2. Injury Marks On Pushkar's Body
Cops have pulled up the three men for being unable to explain how Pushkar sustained injuries in her body, even though they were at the hotel where she was found dead.
3. The Mehr Tarar Connection
Interestingly, police have cited Tharoor's relation with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar as a "bone of discord between the couple", alleging that the three suspects have more information on the matter that they are unwilling to divulge.
4. Why Was Pushkar Living In A Hotel?
All three suspects have told police that Sunanda Pushkar was living at Hotel Leela because there was ongoing repair work at her husband's official Delhi residence. However, police claim that the repair work had been completed much before Pushkar's arrival in Delhi, and that the three had "misled" the investigation.
5. Protecting Shashi Tharoor
When questioned, the three suspects refused to divulge any details on what did Pushkar want to "expose" about Shashi Tharoor prior to her death. She had confided in her friends, as well as allegedly tweeted out that she wanted to call a press conference on the matter the same day she was found dead. (She, however, said later that her Twitter profile had been hacked).
6. Why Was Dewan At Hotel Leela?
Sanjay Dewan, Tharoor's close friend and aide, had cancelled a trip to Mumbai to meet Pushkar at her hotel. However, police claim that he has unable to give a good reason for this. He has also not disclosed why he didn't wake up Sunanda Pushkar while he was sitting in the room no. 345 (ante room) for about two-and-a-half hours before she was discovered dead, police said in the SIT report. Curiously, he also called Dr Rajat Mohan from Patel Nagar instead of the doctor at Leela when he found Pushkar's body. He has still not produced his mobile phone which he was using at the time, even though cops have found call details that show Dewan and Tharoor exchanged several text messages, whose content is yet unknown.