The Delhi Police was on Monday taken to task by a city court for its “lethargic attitude” in its probe into the death of Sunanda Pushkar, the wife of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, in a five-star hotel suite in 2014. The court was hearing a plea by the hotel’s management seeking de-sealing of the suite where Pushkar had died under mysterious circumstances.
The court summoned the Deputy Commissioner of Police and asked him to appear before it on September 12 and explain why more time should be granted to the police to complete its investigation as over three years have already passed.
“Due to the lethargic attitude of Delhi Police, the plaintiff (hotel) has already suffered a lot,” Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh said, observing that in the name of investigation, huge financial loss has been caused to the hotel.
The court’s directions came after the police, in its status report filed on the judge’s direction, said that teams of forensic experts had visited the suite recently and collected various evidence, reports of which were awaited.
“Till the reports clearly indicate ‘no further requirement’, the suite cannot be opened,” the police said and sought more time to complete the probe.
The court had on July 21 ordered de-sealing of the suite within four weeks, saying the hotel cannot be put to unending hardship due to laxity on part of the police.
The court had, however, said the probe agency would be at liberty to visit the suite before filing a compliance report regarding de-sealing of the suite. It had also noted that no offence was found on part of the hotel.
The police was allowed to take out the articles lying inside the suite with due care for the purpose of the probe.
The hotel had submitted before the court that locking of the suite was creating sanitary and cleanliness issues for it. The hotel had claimed that due to the sealing of the suite, which costs between Rs 55,000 and Rs 61,000 a night, it had suffered a loss of over Rs 50 lakh in the last three years.
It had claimed that a number of times, police and forensic teams had visited the suite and it was no longer required to be kept sealed.
“The hotel continues to suffer loss with each passing day. The continuous sealing of the suite is also affecting the use of other rooms/suites on the same floor,” it had said.
Pushkar was found dead in the suite of the South Delhi hotel on the night of January 17, 2014. The suite was sealed on that night itself for investigation.
An FIR was registered by Delhi police on January 1, 2015 against unknown persons under IPC section 302 (murder).