TWENTY-FIVE police officers, including three IPS officers, who were all part of the Special Investigation Team probing the death of Sunanda Pushkar, are being questioned by the Vigilance Department of Delhi Police.
Sources said the Vigilance Department has begun recording the statements of the officers at its office at the Barakhamba Road police station. Pushkar (51), wife of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, was found dead in her hotel suite on January 17, 2014, days after she publicly accused her husband of having an affair with a Pakistani journalist.
At that time, now Special Commissioner of Police Vivek Gogia was Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern range), and Additional Commissioner of Police B S Jaiswal was DCP (South district). After Jaiswal, the then DCP (South) Prem Nath supervised the SIT. Sources told The Indian Express that DCP Ishwar Singh, who succeeded Prem Nath as DCP (South) and started heading the SIT, “found several lapses and made a special note of shortcomings which he found while supervising the SIT”.
The Indian Express learnt that Singh listed several “shortcomings” in a note to then JCP (Southern range) R P Upadhyay, who had taken over from Gogia. Among the notings was that 10 months after the incident, the investigating officer (IO) had lifted the bedsheet, bed covers and edibles from room number 345 at the Leela Palace Hotel, where Pushkar was found dead.
The note, with a few additions, was put up before then Special CP (Law and Order of Southern range) P Kamraj, who forwarded it to then Delhi Police Commissioner Alok Kumar Verma in 2016. “After receiving the file, Verma had directed the Vigilance department to conduct an enquiry and the file was given to then Special CP (Vigilance) Amulya Patnaik who had to wait since the SIT probe was still underway,” police sources said.
This year, police filed a chargesheet and accused Tharoor of abetment to suicide. Later, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy filed a petition in the Patiala House Courts, seeking a direction to Delhi Police to produce the report of a vigilance enquiry conducted in the Pushkar case.
Sources said Patnaik has re-opened the enquiry and asked the Vigilance Department to complete its report.