Tharoor charged with abetment of suicide

Tharoor charged with abetment of suicide

FILE PHOTO: Shashi Tharoor, a Member of Parliament from India's main opposition Congress party, poses at his office in New Delhi, India, January 25, 2016. To match Special Report INDIA-MODI/CULTURE REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee/File Photoshashi tharoor

Four years after the mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar in a five-star hotel here, the Delhi Police on Monday accused Congress MP Shashi Tharoor of abetting his wife’s suicide in a charge sheet filed in a court here.

The police said in a 3,000-page charge sheet that Tharoor’s custodial interrogation was necessary to unravel the sequence of events and conclude the investigations. The only person named in the charge sheet is Tharoor and police said they have enough material to proceed against him and he was not arrested so far as he had joined the investigation when required.

Tharoor, a Congress MP from Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, has been charged under sections 498 A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code in connection with the death of Pushkar in a luxury hotel on the night of January 17, 2014.

If convicted under section 498A, the maximum punishment is up to three years of imprisonment while that of Section 306 is jail term up to 10 years. The court said it will consider the charge sheet on May 24, even as police wanted the judge to summon Tharoor as an accused. Tharoor’s then domestic help Narayan Singh has been named as one of the key witnesses in the case.

According to the charge sheet, sources said, Pushkar died within three years, three months and 15 days of her marriage with Tharoor. The FIR was registered almost a year after the incident on January 1, 2015, against unknown persons under IPC section 302 (murder). However, it was not immediately clear why the police did not invoke the murder charges though the FIR mentioned Section 302.

In the charge sheet, Tharoor is accused of subjecting Pushkar to mental as well as physical cruelty. The police argued that his custodial interrogation was needed as they have collected all possible material evidence and verified. It included several medical reports.

Tharoor said he will contest the “preposterous charge sheet”. “No one who knew Sunanda believes she would ever have committed suicide, let alone abetment on my part. If this is conclusion arrived at after 4+ yrs of the investigation, it does not speak well of the methods or motivations of the Delhi Police. In October 17, the Law Officer made a statement in the Delhi high court that they have not found anything against anyone and now in six months they say that I have abetted a suicide. Unbelievable!” he tweeted.