Police quiz Pushkar's journalist contacts over IPL angle

Police quiz Pushkar's journalist contacts over IPL angle

To probe the Indian Premier League angle in Sunanda Pushkar’s murder, Delhi Police on Thursday questioned some journalists whom she contacted before her death in January 2014.

Sources said Sunanda had spoken with Barkha Dutt, Rahul Kanwal, Prema Sri Devi, Sagarika Ghosh and Nalini Singh, and also planned to hold a press conference on the issue.

Sunanda had spoken with Barkha on January 15, 2014. Barkha was told by Sunanda that her husband, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, was having an affair with Pakistan journalist Mehr Tarar. Sunanda had also allegedly told Barkha that she had “taken the flak for Tharoor in the IPL”.

Kanwal has said on television that Sunanda had told him that she wanted to disclose facts to him about the controversies that surrounded Tharoor. But before they met, she was dead.

Nalini claimed that Sunanda had been “distraught” and was “crying” over phone when she spoke with her early morning on January 17, last year. Nalini said Sunanda sounded disturbed and they discussed about Tharoor and Mehr.

In most of the phone calls, Sunanda claimed that she would reveal everything she knew about Tharoor’s role in the IPL controversy in 2010.

Sunanda had sweat equity in Rendezvous Sports World. In 2010, the company bid for the IPL cricket team Kochi Tuskers, Kerala. The company was founded in 2009, while Sunanda was made a director of the company on February 25, 2010, just 18 days before the IPL bid.

At that time, there were allegations that Tharoor had misused his position in the central government to ensure that Rs 70 crore was paid to Sunanda. Police suspect it may have been one of the reasons behind Sunanda’s murder.

Meanwhile, a family friend claimed that Sunanda was taking “fistfuls of medicines” weeks before she died. Tej Saraf, 77, had invited Sunanda and Tharoor to his house in Goa in December 2013.

It is claimed that Sunanda fainted twice during the trip. Sunanda had also told Tej that he was not eating or sleeping well. “She was in a distraught condition,” Tej told a news channel, adding he is willing to testify before police. Tej also claimed that Sunanda was exhibiting bizarre behaviour.

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