Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Union minister Shashi Tharoor, found dead in Delhi hotel
Raj Shekhar, TNN | Jan 18, 2014
, 03.26AM IST
Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Union minister Shashi Tharoor found dead in Delhi hotel
Union minister Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in Delhi's Leela Hotel on Friday evening. (File photo)
NEW DELHI: Sunanda Pushkar, the wife of Union minister Shashi Tharoor, was found dead in suite 345 of Leela Hotel on Friday evening. Her death comes within 48 hours of her going public about her husband's alleged affair with a Pakistani journalist, raising suspicions of suicide, although no note has been found.
Her body was reportedly found by Tharoor when he returned to the hotel in the evening after Friday's AICC session. The couple are said to have moved out of the minister's official bungalow as it was being painted. The police were informed by Tharoor's PS Abhinav Kumar.
The tragic end came even as Twitter was still buzzing about the public display of anger, betrayal and accusations involving Tharoor, Sunanda and Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar. There were also reports of Sunanda talking of divorce, although she scotched the talk on Thursday.
The police initially suggested it was suicide. But late at night, the officers were more guarded. Police sources said it could be a "natural or unnatural death". They said all angles were being probed: suicide, poisoning and death due to a sudden heart attack. A forensic team had come to the hotel and a magistrate was called for the interrogation of Tharoor and his PS.
As the marriage was less than seven years old, section 176 of the CrPC kicked in and the police was conducting investigations to rule out any dowry angle. Delhi police will also ask Twitter to give details of direct messages between Sunanda and Tarar.
There were no apparent injuries on the body which was discovered around 8pm when Tharoor opened the room. Police said the 52-year-old woman had been last seen in the hotel lobby around 3.30pm. The Sarojini Nagar SDM will supervise the probe.
Special commissioner of police Deepak Mishra confirmed her death and said suite 345 of Leela and the entire third floor had been sealed. Pushkar had checked into the hotel on Wednesday, police said. Sources said her body was discovered on the bed covered with a duvet.
Dr Sudhir Gupta, head of forensic sciences at AIIMS, said the body would be kept at the department and viscera preserved. "Postmortem will be conducted after inquest orders from the magistrate," he said.
Talk of trouble between the high-profile Tharoors had been swirling for months but things were finally made public by Sunanda.
'Sunanda spoke of poor health, depression'
Sunanda, who has a 21-year-old son from a previous marriage, put correspondence between Tharoor and Lahore-based Mehr Tarar, 45, on Twitter and spoke about it to the media. Although the couple on Thursday said they were "happily married", parallel reports of her having sought divorce resurfaced in the media.
Although no one who had spoken to her in the past few days sensed any suicidal tendency, one of her last tweets read: "Will try got so many issues diagnosed in KIMS that now who knows when I got 2 go with joy hastay hua jayagay (will go laughing)."
Tharoor, who left his job at the UN after unsuccessfully contesting elections for the secretary-general's post, returned to India in 2008. Soon after, he divorced his Canadian diplomat wife. He married Sunanda in 2010 — his third marriage. He has two sons from his first wife, Tillotma.
People who had spoken to Sunanda in the past two days described her as very disturbed and distraught over her husband's relationship with Tarar.
TV anchors with whom she had corresponded on Thursday night said she had spoken about her poor health and depression. Sunanda, who was with Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram last week, underwent treatment at a private hospital two days ago.
She was unwell and diagnosed with Lupus and stomach tuberculosis, said a hospital source. Lupus is a medical condition arising from deficiency in immunity which damages healthy tissues. It is learnt that she had spent four days in hospital.
"My wife's illness means I need to be with her and will miss all five events of Jaipur litfest in 2014. I promised to atone in 2015," a tweet by Tharoor at 8.01pm read.
Journalist Vir Sanghvi said on TV he had met her a few weeks ago and the usually bubbly woman was not herself. "...I feel there is something deeper here," he said.