In further trouble for Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, a Delhi court on Tuesday summoned him as an accused in a case related to his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death and asked him to appear before it on July 7.
As the court said there are “sufficient grounds” to proceed against him, Tharoor issued a statement saying the charges against him are “preposterous and baseless, the product of a malicious and vindictive campaign” against him.
Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel in the capital on the night of January 17, 2014 and an FIR was registered almost a year after the incident on January 1, 2015 against unknown persons under section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Taking cognizance of the charge sheet filed by Delhi Police on May 14 charging Tharoor with abetment of suicide, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal said, “On the basis of the police report (charge sheet), I take cognizance of the offence of abetment of suicide of late Sunanda Pushkar and committing cruelty upon her by Shashi Tharoor.”
The judge further said, “There exist sufficient grounds to proceed against Tharoor for the commission of offences of Section 306 (abetment of suicide) and 498-A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) of the IPC. Issue summons to him for appearance on July 7.”
Under section 498A, the maximum punishment is up to three years of imprisonment, while jail term up to 10 years is prescribed under section 306.
In his statement, Tharoor said he has fully cooperated with the investigating team and continued to maintain that due legal process must be followed in all aspects related to the case.
“I will continue to vigorously contest these charges and maintain my steadfast conviction that ultimately the truth will prevail through the judicial system that we are privileged to have in our country,” he said.
According to the charge sheet that runs into around 3,000 pages filed four years after the incident, Tharoor is accused of subjecting Pushkar to mental as well as physical cruelty. It names only Tharoor as an accused while his domestic help Narayan has been named as a witness.
Pushkar died within three years, three months and 15 days of her marriage with Tharoor, the charge sheet said.