Sunanda Pushkar was poisoned to death: Cops

Probe to find if poison administered orally or injected

Sunanda Pushkar was poisoned to death: Cops

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar was poisoned to death, said the Delhi Police on Tuesday.

A case of murder has been registered nearly a year after she was found dead in a five-star hotel in Delhi.

Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi said Sunanda was either administered the poison orally or injected.

The police have relied on medical and forensic reports while registering a case under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code against unidentified persons with Sarojini Nagar police station.

A special team, led by Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Prem Nath and Additional DCP (South) P S Kushwah, has been formed to probe the case. Till now, the death was being investigated under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Sunanda was found dead in a suite of the Leela Palace hotel in south Delhi’s Chanakyapuri on January 17 last year. She checked in with Tharoor on January 16, and the then Union minister was the first person to find her dead. On Tuesday, Bassi said Tharoor could be called for questioning, if needed.

Conclusions drawn in a medical report submitted to the police on December 29 confirmed that Sunanda’s death was unnatural and due to poisoning. Prepared by AIIMS Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology after study of the viscera, the report contradicted the preliminary report that had said Sunanda’s death was caused by an overdose of anti-depressant tablet alprazolam or alprax. The new report ruled out the presence of the anti-depressant in Sunanda’s body.

“We have got the final medical report from AIIMS, and have been told that it was an unnatural death. She died of poisoning,” said Bassi, adding that the probe would now look to establish whether the poison was administered orally or injected into Sunanda's body.

“We will have to send samples abroad to ascertain the quantity of the poison, as it cannot be done in India. To send viscera samples outside India for tests, we are required to register a case. Medical reports make it amply clear that it was a case of unnatural death, due to which Section 302 of the IPC has been invoked,” he said.

Two laboratories, where the nature of poison can be ascertained, are in the United Kingdom and the United States.

The police will now have to obtain a letter rogatory to request the foreign labs' assistance in the probe.

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