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.

Supreme Court questions maintainability of Subramanian Swamy’s plea in Sunanda case

The Supreme Court today asked BJP leader Subramanian Swamy to satisfy it on the aspect of maintainability of his plea seeking an SIT probe into the death of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar in 2014.

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

Swamy has moved the apex court after the Delhi High Court had in October last year dismissed his plea seeking a probe by a court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT) into Pushkar’s death.

During the hearing today, a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy told Swamy that he has to first satisfy the court on whether his plea was maintainable.

“Before going into merits, we need to be satisfied on maintainability,” the bench told Swamy who said that it is a matter of public interest.

He claimed that it took nearly one year for the Delhi Police to lodge FIR in the case and the post-mortem report said that Pushkar had died an unnatural death.

The bench, however, asked him to argue on the issue of maintainability and and posted the matter for hearing after three weeks.

The Delhi High Court had on October 26, last year, rejected Swamy’s plea for a court-monitored SIT probe into Pushkar’s death and termed his PIL as 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 now and even earlier when he was a minister in the UPA regime.

When the high court questioned the source based on which he had made the allegations, the BJP leader and his lawyer, who is a co-petitioner, had said that they would file affidavits to reply to the court’s query.

However, the bench had rejected their offer, saying it appeared that they had concealed information pertinent to the case, which they ought to have disclosed when they had filed the petition.

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