Direct police to produce tweets of Sunanda Pushkar, Shashi Tharoor urges court

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor Tuesday urged a special court here to direct Delhi Police to bring on record various tweets made by his wife Sunanda Pushkar, who was found dead in mysterious circumstances in January 2014.

Tharoor told the court that the Twitter account of the deceased was important to check the state of mind before her death.

The Congress leader, who is made an accused by the police in the case, told Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar that it does not have the cause of death till date.

“Till 2018, they didn’t know it (the reason of death). Then a new board was formed (for her autopsy)… They (police) argued on charge and the documents were placed, particularly the psychological autopsy report, which says suicide cannot be the cause of death.

“Twitter account of the deceased is important to check when we are checking the state of mind. They seized three Blackberry phones of the deceased on January 30, 2014. They sent it to CFSL and asked to provide WhatsApp, Twitter, Call Logs, SMS, Images data. They have picked and chosen the data they want to use,” senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, appearing for Tharoor, told the court.

He said the ‘Twitter timeline’ of Pushkar can show her state of mind before her death.

“There is a timeline, there are so many tweets which can show her mindset. How can they (police) say this is irrelevant… I (Tharoor) am just saying through my application that they should produce the documents which are in my favour. They have mentioned a conclusion based on a tweet and today they say they don’t have it.

“During the course of Investigation it came to the notice that the deceased and her husband were very active on social media. In order to seek relevant information, call logs, SMS, Twitter, Facebook, BBM etc were scanned. Since the material, which is in public domain, you have it in the two phones seized by you, but you won’t rely on it because it does not suit you,” he said.

The police, however, opposed the application terming it “vague”. “It is vague application. This is a serious effort by them to not allow the trial in this case,” said senior public prosecutor Atul Srivastava, appearing for Delhi police.

The police added that it was not relying on the tweets of the victim and that it had no record related to the Pushkar’s tweet.

The court will pass order on Tharoor’s application on December 12.

The former Union minister, who is currently on bail in the case, was charged by Delhi Police under Sections 498-A and 306 of the Indian Penal Code.

Police had told the court that Pushkar was suffering from mental agony due to a strained relationship with her husband. She had a scuffle with her husband and had various injury marks few days before her death, they said.

Police accused Tharoor of torturing his wife which abetted her to commit suicide.

The maximum punishment for the offence listed in the charge sheet is 10 years of imprisonment. However, if convicted for 302 (murder), the maximum punishment is death penalty while the minimum is life imprisonment.

Pushkar’s death had created a sensation as it came shortly after a bitter spat between the couple on Twitter over his alleged affair with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar.

Pushkar, 51, was found dead in a suite of luxury hotel Leela in Delhi’s Chanakyapuri on the night of January 17, 2014.

The couple was staying at the hotel as the official bungalow of Tharoor was being renovated at that time.

Draft final report prepared, SIT tells Supreme Court: Sunanda case

The special investigation team (SIT) today told the Supreme Court that a draft final report has been prepared after conducting “thorough professional and scientific investigations” in the case relating to the death of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar.

Delhi Police, in its affidavit filed in the apex court, has said that a draft final report has been sent to the prosecution department of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi for “legal scrutiny” and it would be filed in the concerned trial court after being vetted.

“The SIT, after conducting thorough professional and scientific investigations, has prepared a draft police report under section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code and sent the same to the prosecution department of Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi for legal scrutiny,” it said.

“As soon as the draft police report is received after legal vetting by the prosecution department, the same shall be submitted before the competent trial court for consideration and concomitant judicial proceedings,” the affidavit, filed by Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Romil Baaniya who is supervising the SIT probe, said.

Pushkar was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a suite of a five-star hotel in Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014.

The top court had in February sought the response of Delhi Police on a plea filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy seeking a court-monitored SIT probe into Pushkar’s death.

While issuing notice to the police on Swamy’s plea, a bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra had left open the question of maintainability of the petition.

Swamy had filed an appeal in the top court against Delhi High Court’s October 26 last year’s verdict dismissing his plea for a probe into Pushkar’s death by a court-monitored SIT. While rejecting the plea, the high court had termed his public interest litigation (PIL) a “textbook example of a political interest litigation”.

Swamy, in his plea before the high court, had alleged that the police had “botched up” the probe and accused Tharoor of “interfering” in the investigation as a minister in the erstwhile UPA regime and later.

The high court had chastised the BJP leader and his lawyer, who was a co-petitioner before it, for making “sweeping allegations” in the petition against Tharoor and the Delhi Police without giving any basis for such accusations.

The high court had observed that Swamy ought to have mentioned his political affiliation as well as that of Tharoor in his plea as these facts were important for adjudication of the case.