September 1, 2019 2:03:57 am
Delhi Police Saturday asked a court to prosecute Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for abetment to suicide or “alternatively” frame murder charges against him, claiming that someone could have forcibly administered poison to his wife Sunanda Pushkar, leading to her death. Police also told the court that a medical report has opined that death due to natural causes has been ruled out.
The development comes almost a year after police, in its chargesheet, dropped murder charges. But citing a statement by key witness Narayan Singh, the couple’s help at the time, Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava told Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar that Pushkar and Tharoor were having regular fights a year before her death, and she was about to address a press conference on alleged financial impropriety in the Indian Premier League (IPL) before she died.
Police said as per the statement of a domestic help, the couple had fought in Dubai, and on one instance, Pushkar hit Tharoor on his leg. Srivastava also told the court the couple had fought over another woman apart from Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar.
Tharoor’s lawyer, senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, said the arguments made by the prosecution were contrary to the bare reading of the chargesheet and were “absurd and preposterous”. “I can say that every bit of evidence collected by the SIT speaks just the opposite to what the prosecutor has argued today,” he said, in a statement.
Pushkar was found dead in a five-star hotel room in Delhi on January 17, 2014. Initially, an FIR was registered by police on January 1, 2015, against unknown persons on charges of murder. Tharoor was booked under IPC sections 498-A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 (abetment to suicide). The prosecution claimed Pushkar was upset with Tharoor after she found messages exchanged between him and Tarar, and that her “behaviour was aggravated”.
Srivastava, citing a Supreme Court judgment, told Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar that a trial court can always frame an appropriate charge if there is sufficient material from the police report, and in case the material is insufficient, the trial court may either discharge the accused or direct further investigation.
“My prayer is that the accused be charged under section 498-A, 306 and alternatively Section 302 (murder) of the IPC,” Srivastava told the court.
Tharoor’s counsel Pahwa accused police of reading evidence by “bits and pieces” and told the court that in all these years, “the cause of death could not be determined and they are going from one door to another”. “We have to speak from the evidence and not just in air,” Pahwa said. He added that he will rebut each and every point raised by the prosecution. The matter will be argued next on October 17.
The prosecution read three medical reports and claimed that the “cause of death was poisoning, probably Alprazolam poisoning”. “She (Pushkar) might have taken, or somebody must have got it administered orally or through injection, or forcibly it was administered. Alprazolam tablets were found and it was evident they were consumed,” Srivastava said, referring to the first medical report.
The prosecution added that in the second medical report, it was opined that Pushkar was neither ill nor had any prior disease. The prosecution then read out the third medical board opinion that “death due to natural causes is ruled out in the present case”.
“The medical reports opined that the poison was administered through the oral route, however, injectable route also cannot be ruled out,” said Srivastava.
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