Delhi’s Patiala House Court on Thursday accepted Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s anticipatory bail plea, thereby granting him protection from arrest, in the case of his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death. Special Judge Arvind Kumar granted Tharoor the relief on the condition that Tharoor furnishes a bail bond of Rs 1 lakh and also directed him not to leave the country without permission. The judge also asked him not to tamper with evidence.
In his plea for anticipatory bail, Tharoor had submitted that the charge sheet in the case was filed and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) had categorically stated that the probe was concluded and that his custodial interrogation was not required.
The acceptance of the bail plea came a day after the Delhi Police opposed it, saying Tharoor might “flee the country”. Special Public Prosecutor Atul Srivastava said since Tharoor is an influential person, he may harm the investigation. “He is a frequent flier and may settle abroad. Some of the key witnesses — including Narayan Singh and Bajrangi — are still working with Tharoor and he may influence them,” he had said earlier.
However, senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Tharoor, accused the police of making statements contrary to ones made earlier. “In the chargesheet, they (police) said that Tharoor cooperated during the probe and therefore, he was not arrested. Police is speaking contrary to what they were speaking earlier,” Sibal told the court.
Sibal and Manu Singhvi also told the court that since Tharoor was not arrested before the filing of the chargesheet, he should be given protection from arrest. In his plea, Tharoor had submitted that the SIT had categorically stated that his custodial interrogation was not required.
Tharoor has already been summoned as an accused in the case on July 7 by an Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.
Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a luxury hotel in the city on the night of January 17, 2014. Tharoor has been charged under sections 498A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), but has not been arrested in the case.