Congress politician Shashi Tharoor charged over wife’s death

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New Delhi, India – Shashi Tharoor, a prominent Indian public personality and member of parliament from the opposition Congress party, has been charged with aiding the suicide of his wife four years ago.

Delhi Police on Monday filed a 3000-page charge sheet in the long-drawn-out case involving the death of Sunanda Pushkar.

Tharoor has been charged under sections of the Indian Penal Code that relate to abetment of suicide and cruelty against wife.

Pushkar was found dead in her hotel room on January 17, 2014, after publicly accusing Tharoor of having an extra-marital affair with a Pakistani journalist.

A Delhi Police statement said a probe by a special investigation team “on the basis of medico-legal and forensic evidence analysed during investigation as well as opinion of psychological autopsy experts” had resulted in the charge sheet.

“The matter is now sub-judice, so we cannot reveal contents of probe report,” Deependra Pathak, Delhi Police Chief Public Relations Officer, said in Delhi.

‘Preposterous’ charges

An autopsy initially concluded Pushkar probably died of an overdose of anti-depressants, but a year later Indian police said she was poisoned and announced a murder investigation.

Tharoor called the charges “preposterous”, adding that he would contest the charges “vigorously”.

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The Congress party said it stands by the legislator, who represents Thiruvananthapuram in the southern state of Kerala.

“We won’t cow down or bow down. This is a conspiracy to defame Shashi Tharoor,” Randeep Singh Surjewala, a Congress party spokesperson, said in a statement.

“We reject the charges totally. This is being done on instructions from the BJP and Narendra Modi-led government. BJP’s revenge factory is at work.”

The couple were married in 2010, the third marriage for both.

Sunanda had earlier accused her husband of having an “extra-marital affair” with Mehr Tarar, the Pakistani journalist, and told an Indian daily in January 2014 that she would “seek divorce”.

Tharoor, a prolific author and commentator, was an under-secretary-general for communications and public information during Kofi Annan’s tenure as secretary-general of the UN.

He also ran for the post of UN secretary-general in 2006.

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