India opposition leader Shashi Tharoor charged over wife’s death

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

Delhi Police on Monday filed a 3000-page chargedsheet in the high-profile case. Tharoor has been charged under sections of the Indian Penal Code that relate to abetment of suicide and cruelty against wife.

Pushakar 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” has resulted in the chargesheet.

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

An autopsy initially concluded Pushkar probably died of an overdose of anti-depressant drugs, but a year later Indian police said she was poisoned while announcing a murder investigation.

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

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

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

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

Sunanda had earlier accused her husband of having an “extra-marital affair” with a Pakistan based journalist and told an Indian daily in January 2014 that she would “seek divorce”.

Tharoor was an under-secretary general for Communications and Public Information during Kofi Annan’s tenure as Chief of the United Nations. He also ran for the post of UN secretary general in 2006.

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