Police probing the death of Sunanda Pushkar, the wife of Union minister Shashi Tharoor, have been told by two of their attendants that they were present in an anteroom of the Leela Palace hotel suite when the minister returned from the AICC session on Friday evening to find his wife dead.
A police officer said the two attendants have been questioned and their statements recorded before a sub-divisional magistrate who is inquiring into the death.
The officer quoted one of the attendants, Narayan, as claiming that the couple fought on Thursday night — she had tweeted that their marriage was in trouble and that her husband was having an affair with a Pakistani journalist — and that Tharoor later slept on a sofa in the living room.
On Saturday, Narayan told The Sunday Express: “I was with Madam (Sunanda) in the morning and I gave her a foot massage around 6.30 am. By the time I finished, Sahab (Tharoor) had left for work. I left too and returned to the suite only around 4 pm. Till such time, Bajrangi (the other attendant), who is also Tharoor Sahab’s driver, was in the suite. I returned with Sharma (a third man).
“We called out to Madam around 4.30 pm and then again at 5.30 pm. Since she didn’t respond, we assumed she was asleep. At 7.30 pm, we called Sahab and told him that madam wasn’t opening the door”.
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Police said Tharoor reached the hotel at 8 pm and asked the hotel staff to open the bedroom with a master key. When the door was opened, he realised she was not breathing. Tharoor asked Bajrangi to call a doctor while he called up his OSD, Abhinav Kumar, who alerted police.
Police have seized Sunanda’s mobile phone, laptop and medicines including an Alprax strip of ten with only a few tablets left.
Narayan is learnt to have told the police that Sunanda had not been eating properly for the last few days and would only sip coconut water and smoke cigarettes.
According to the police officer, Narayan told them that he had travelled with the couple to Thiruvananthapuram on January 10. There, Sunanda had been admitted to the Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS). On January 15, the couple returned to Delhi.
The officer said Narayan claimed Sunanda did not return home to Lodhi Estate with Tharoor and checked into the hotel the same day. The next day, Tharoor came to the hotel and checked into another room. The couple later moved into the suite. Narayan said he was in the anteroom when he heard the couple arguing on Thursday night, the officer said, adding that all these statements were still being verified with independent sources including hotel records.