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.

Delhi High Court Dismisses Republic TV And Arnab Goswami’s Pleas For Quashing Order Directing FIR On Shashi Tharoor’s Complaint.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed as not maintainable a petition moved by TV journalist Arnab Goswami and the Republic TV seeking quashing of the magisterial court order for registration of FIR against them on the complaint made by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor for allegedly committing theft of confidential documents pertaining to investigation in the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar and the alleged hacking of his e-mail account.

Justice Najmi Waziri dismissed Goswami’s petition in limine saying the high court is not the correct forum when he had the alternate remedy of challenging the magistrate’s order before the Sessions court. Goswami had sought quashing of the January 21 order passed by Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh. Tharoor was represented before high court by senior advocate Vikas Pahwa and advocate Gaurav Gupta who challenged Goswami’s petition as not maintainable.

It is to be noted that Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel in New Delhi on January 17, 2014. Tharoor was recently charged for subjecting her to cruelty and abetting suicide. While the police probe is on, Tharoor had moved the Patiala House court accusing Arnab and the news channel of gaining illegal access to confidential documents which were part of police probe records and hacking his e-mail account to access personal e-mails and then broadcasting them on the news channel to increase its viewership. In his complaint, Tharoor had said that police collected number of items/materials of deceased and recorded statement of complainant and one of his aide Mr. Narain Singh. All those documents/materials were part of confidential record and within the sole possession of investigation team. He had told the court that “during several broadcast, certain documents were shown on News channel which were stated to be documents related to investigation of the death of complainant’s wife. Such documents are copy of internal file notings of Delhi police, copy of statement of complainant given to Delhi police, copy of statement of complainant’s aide Narain Singh, pictures of deceased which were taken during autopsy”.

The complaint had further stated that the accused persons “illegally accessed those confidential documents and shown/broadcast them on their News channel…accessed the complainant’s Email account without his authority or consent and shared the personal Emails on their News channel and even filed said materials/documents as part of their reply in Civil Suit before the high court”. Response to his RTI queries had further revealed that the documents were not in public domain. It was then that the magistrate ordered an FIR to be registered while noting that, “This court is of the considered view that in view of allegations levelled by complainant and material produced on record in the form of RTI replies and other material, matter discloses commission of cognizable offence and in view of this court, matter requires investigation by police as it is not clear that how said material came in the possession of proposed accused persons. This court is of the further view that number of persons are to be examined in this matter. “In these circumstances, SHO concerned is directed to register FIR in this matter and investigate the same as per law. Copy of this order be sent to SHO concerned for compliance”.

Court allows Shashi Tharoor to travel abroad in Sunanda Pushkar case

New Delhi: A Delhi court today grands permission to Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, accused in a case related to his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death in a luxury hotel, to travel abroad.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal allowed Tharoor’s application seeking permission for eight visits to five countries, including the US, Canada and Germany, till December.
The court placed several conditions on Tharoor, while noting that there was nothing on record to suggest that he may flee justice.

“He (Tharoor) has cooperated with the investigation. He had appeared before court on the first date in pursuance of the summons issued to him. There is nothing on record to presume that he may flee justice,” it said.

The court directed the Congress MP to furnish a fixed deposit of Rs 2 lakh, which will be refunded after his return.
It asked him to inform the investigating officer and the court about the travel details and his arrival in the country.
The court also directed him not to tamper with the evidence or influence the witnesses.

Tharoor moves court for anticipatory bail in Sunanda Pushkar death

New Delhi: Congress leader Shashi Tharoor today moved a Delhi court seeking anticipatory bail in the case related to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.
Tharoor has already been summoned as an accused in the case.
The politician’s plea was filed before Special Judge Arvind Kumar who sought Delhi Police’s response and kept it for hearing tomorrow.

Tharoor was earlier summoned as an accused by a magisterial court for the alleged offences of abetment of suicide and committing cruelty towards Pushkar.

In his plea filed through advocate Vikas Pahwa, Tharoor said the charge sheet has been filed without arrest and the SIT (special investigation team) has categorically stated that investigation has been concluded and no custodial interrogation is required.

“The law is very clear that if the charge sheet is filed without arrest the bail is inevitable. We have only requested for protection so that we appear in the court on July 7,” Pahwa said.

The matter will be heard tomorrow at 10 am as the prosecutor was not present in court today, he said.
On June 5, a court summoned Tharoor as accused, asking him to appear before it on July 7 and saying there were sufficient grounds to proceed against him.
Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel room on the night of January 17, 2014.
Tharoor has been charged under Sections 498 A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.
After a magisterial court had taken cognisance of the offences against Tharoor, his counsel had termed the prosecution’s case “absurd and preposterous”.

On May 14, Delhi Police accused Tharoor, Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, of abetting Pushkar’s suicide and told a city court that he should be summoned as an accused in the four-and-half year-old case, claiming there was sufficient evidence against him.

In a nearly 3,000-page charge sheet, police named Tharoor as the only accused while also alleging that he had subjected his wife to cruelty.

The couple’s domestic servant, Narayan Singh, has been named one of the key witnesses in the case.

Under Section 498A, the maximum punishment is up to three years of imprisonment, while jail term up to 10 years is prescribed under Section 306.

An FIR was registered by Delhi Police on January 1, 2015 against unknown persons under IPC section 302 (murder).
According to prosecution sources, the charge sheet mentions that Pushkar was allegedly subjected to mental as well as physical cruelty.
Tharoor has not been arrested in the case.
On July 7, the court is also likely to hear BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s application seeking its nod to allow him to assist the prosecution in the case and a direction to the police to produce the report of a vigilance inquiry conducted earlier in the matter.

Police to court: Sunanda’s mail, messages taken as a “dying declaration”

“I have no desire to live…all I pray for is death,” Sunanda Pushkar wrote in an e-mail to her husband Shashi Tharoor nine days before she was found dead in a luxury hotel room here, police has told a city court.

The police also told the court that Sunanda’s death was due to poisoning and 27 tablets of Alprax were found in her room but it was not clear how many pills she had consumed.

Sunanda’s mail and messages on social media have been taken as a “dying declaration”, Delhi Police told Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal, who today reserved for June 5 its order on whether to summon Tharoor as an accused in the case.

The Delhi Police had on May 14 accused the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, of abetting Pushkar’s suicide and urged the court that he should be summoned as an accused in the four-and-half year-old case, claiming there was sufficient evidence against him.

In a nearly 3,000-page charge sheet, the police has named Tharoor as the only accused while also alleging that he had subjected his wife to cruelty.

The couple’s domestic servant, Narayan Singh, has been named one of the key witnesses in the case.

Pushkar was found dead in the suite of a luxury hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014.

The Congress leader has been charged under sections 498 A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.

Under section 498A, the maximum punishment is up to three years of imprisonment, while jail term up to 10 years is prescribed under section 306.

The charge sheet, which includes several annexures including medical reports, said that Pushkar died within four years of her marriage with Tharoor. The couple had entered the wedlock on August 22, 2010.

The suite of the South Delhi hotel, where Pushkar had died, was sealed by the police on the night of her death for investigation. An FIR was registered by Delhi Police on January 1, 2015 against unknown persons under IPC section 302 (murder).

According to prosecution sources, the charge sheet has mentioned that Pushkar was allegedly subjected to mental as well as physical cruelty. Tharoor has not been arrested in the case.

The special investigation team (SIT) on April 20 had told the apex 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’s wife.

The Delhi High Court had last year on October 26 dismissed BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking court-monitored SIT probe into the death of Pushkar, terming his PIL as a “textbook example of a political interest litigation”, instead of public interest litigation or a PIL.

Later, Swamy had moved the Supreme Court against the High Court order. The top court had then asked him to satisfy it on the question of maintainability of his plea.

Can air news on Pushkar but respect Tharoor’s silence: Delhi HC

Can air news on Pushkar but respect Tharoor's silence: Delhi HC
Can air news on Pushkar but respect Tharoor’s silence: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court today refused to restrain journalist Arnab Goswami and his Republic TV from airing news or debates relating to the mysterious death of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar but said it has to be “tempered and balanced”.

The high court also held that Tharoor has a “right to silence” under the Constitution and “no person can be compelled to give testimony or answer questions which may incriminate him”.

Justice Manmohan, who delivered a 61-page judgement, said before airing any story on Pushkar’s death, the channel should give Tharoor a written notice, by electronic mode, seeking his version.

“If the plaintiff (Tharoor) refuses or does not reply within a reasonable time, he will not be compelled to speak and the story will be aired with the disclosure that he has refused to speak to the defendants (TV channel and Goswami),” the court said.

The court disposed of three applications filed by Tharoor seeking to restrain the TV channel and Goswami from airing news regarding his wife’s death till the pendency of the proceedings before the trial court here.

He has also sought a direction to the journalist and the news channel that they should not mention the expression “murder of Sunanda Pushkar” anywhere, as it is yet to to established by a competent court that her death was “murder” to ensure that the trial is not prejudiced.

The applications were filed in Tharoor’s Rs two crore defamation suit against Goswami and the channel for allegedly making defamatory remarks against him while airing news relating to the mysterious death of his wife. The pending suit is listed for further proceedings before the Joint Registrar on January 18 next year.

Goswami and the channel had contended that they have been cautious and have never imputed that the Congress leader is guilty in the case.

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

Dealing with Tharoor’s applications which was opposed by the TV channel, Justice Manmohan discussed domestic and foreign laws and judgements to conclude that in the present case, an interlocutory injunction cannot be granted at this prima facie stage to restrain publication.

“Keeping in view the aforesaid mandate of law and the prima facie findings, this court is of the opinion that in the present case the defendants have the right to air their stories and the same cannot be curbed, but it has to be tempered and balanced,” the court said.

It also observed that an individual affected by the story must be given an option to give his version, but he cannot be compelled to speak if he does not want to.

“The culture of thrusting a microphone in the face of a person needs to be deprecated,” it said.

The court also observed that it is important that when criminal investigation has commenced, media reporting should be sensitive to the indeterminacy of the questions raised in the proceedings.

“Press cannot convict anyone or insinuate that he/she is guilty or make any other unsubstantiated claims. Press has to exercise care and caution while reporting about matters under investigation or pending trial,” the court said.

It said that it has refrained from saying anything more as the counsel for the journalist and the news channel have assured the court that in future they would exercise restraint as well as “bring down the rhetoric”.

“Even according to senior counsel for Tharoor, subsequent to the said statement the previous vitriolic attack was missing. The statement made by (the counsel for Goswami and the TV channel) is accepted by this court and defendants are held bound by the same,” it noted in its order.

The court also made it clear that all observations in the judgment were prima facie in nature and in the context of the disputes between the parties before it.

It also made it clear that none of the observations shall be used in any criminal proceeding, if any, filed by the state.

It observed that irrespective of the style of reporting and the remarks made, the court was of the prima facie view that reporting in this matter was a case of legitimate investigative journalism as even three and a half years after the death of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of a then sitting Union Minister, no charge-sheet has been filed.

“The police may have its own reasons for not completing the investigation, but this is a case where defendants cannot be denied the right to telecast a story as it is a matter of substantial importance with respect to a public figure.

“Further, the documents and materials highlighted by the defendants seem prima facie relevant and material. There is no material to prima facie conclude that the stories have been aired by the defendants with a reckless disregard for truth or precipitated by actual malice,” it noted.

The court was of the view that in this case as far as the alleged defamatory remarks in concerned, it is of the opinion the matter requireed a detail trial.

( Source – PTI )

Tharoor urges HC to stop Goswami from misreporting on Pushkar

Tharoor urges HC to stop Goswami from misreporting on Pushkar
Tharoor urges HC to stop Goswami from misreporting on Pushkar

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor today urged the Delhi High Court to stop journalist Arnab Goswami and his news channel Republic TV from “misreporting” his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death, saying his “right to be left alone” and “right to silence” must be respected.

The submission was made before Justice Manmohan, who reserved the verdict on Tharoor’s plea seeking to restrain Goswami and his channel from airing any news or debate about the death of Pushkar.

The journalist and the channel, on the other hand, said they had only placed the actual evidence and the police report while broadcasting the news.

The Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha MP has filed an interim application for stopping the channel from broadcasting the incident in the pending Rs two crore civil defamation suit against the TV anchor and Republic TV.

Senior advocate Salman Khurshid, appearing for Tharoor, submitted that the court must direct Goswami and the channel not to mention the expression “murder of Sunanda Pushkar”, as it is yet to be established by a competent court that her death was “murder”, and ensure that the trial is not prejudiced.

“Goswami and channel must not involve in rhetorical assertions,” Khurshid contended.

Senior advocate Sandeep Sethi, appearing for Goswami and the channel, said they have neither “condemned” Tharoor, nor suggested that he was involved in the death of his wife.

The counsel also submitted that the Congress leader was not called “the killer” of his wife by the journalist or the channel, as claimed by Tharoor.

After hearing the arguments of all the parties, the court reserved its order.

Tharoor has filed three different applications through his counsel Gaurav Gupta seeking various directions, including not to make any defamatory publication against him in any manner.

Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a five-star hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014. The matter is still under investigation.

Tharoor had on May 26 this year filed the civil defamation suit against Goswami and Republic TV in the High Court.

He had also sought a direction from the high court to restrain the TV channel from broadcasting any show relating to the death of his wife till the investigation is completed by the Delhi Police.

Tharoor has referred to the broadcasting of news items from May 8 to 13 when the TV channel claimed to have aired an expose connected to the death of his wife.

The politician has alleged that despite assurances given in the court on May 29 by the counsel for Goswami and Republic TV, they were engaged in “defaming and maligning” him.

The court had on May 29 said the journalist and his news channel could put out stories stating facts related to the investigation of Pushkar’s death, but could not call the Lok Sabha MP a “criminal”. It had also told their counsel to reduce the rhetoric.

Goswami and the channel had in their affidavit said that they have abided by the court’s direction and in “no manner misreported or misled the viewers as the facts were correctly reported”.

They have also claimed that the suit has been “instituted with an oblique and ulterior motive and is a misguided attempt to muzzle a media channel and the dissemination of true facts to the public”.

( Source – PTI )

Sunanda Pushkar: Police told de-seal hotel suite by Oct 16

Sunanda Pushkar: Police told de-seal hotel suite by Oct 16
Sunanda Pushkar: Police told de-seal hotel suite by Oct 16

A Delhi court today granted six days to the city police to comply with its earlier order to de-seal a five-star hotel suite where Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in 2014.

Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh granted time till October 16 to the police after an Additional Delhi Commissioner Police submitted that the reports from forensic laboratory were likely to come in a couple of days.

The court had earlier rapped the police for not complying with its order to de-seal the suite.

While the South Delhi hotel has been urging the court to direct the police to de-seal the room which was sealed for investigation soon after Pushkar was found dead on the night of January 17, 2014, the court has also been directing the police to do so on quite a few occasions.

Hours after Pushkar was found dead, the suite was sealed for investigation. An FIR was registered by Delhi police on January 1, 2015 against unknown persons under IPC section 302 (murder).

The police was on September 12 directed to de-seal the suite and allowed the police to take all articles from the room required for its probe, besides filing a compliance report by today. In this order, the court had noted that a huge financial loss has already been caused to the hotel.

On September 4 too, the court had taken the police to task for its “lethargic attitude” in its probe into the case and summoned the DCP to explain why more time should be granted for de-sealing the suite.

Similarly on August 19, the court had pulled up the agency for delaying the de-sealing of the room and referred to a court order passed on July 21 asking it to do so within four weeks from then.

( Source – PTI )

Sunanda Pushkar: Police rapped for not de-sealing hotel suite

Sunanda Pushkar: Police rapped for not de-sealing hotel suite
Sunanda Pushkar: Police rapped for not de-sealing hotel suite

The city police today again came under fire from a Delhi court for not complying with its order to de-seal a five-star hotel suite where Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in 2014.

Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh said the hotel room should have been opened by today and directed the Joint Commissioner of the Delhi Police to appear before the court and explain why the order has not been complied with.

The court made the observations after the police filed a report stating that the results from the forensic laboratories were still awaited and some more time be given to it.

“Do you (police) want to initiate proceedings against yourself? I have already passed an order. You think of legal consequences. It can’t go on like this,” the judge said.

The court also directed the police to file a list containing the names of members of its special investigating team probing the case.

While the South Delhi hotel has been urging the court to direct the police to de-seal the room which was sealed for investigation soon after Pushkar was found dead on January 17, 2014, the court has also been directing the police to do so on a few occasions.

Hours after Pushkar was found dead, the suite was sealed that night itself for investigation. An FIR was registered by Delhi police on January 1, 2015 against unknown persons under IPC section 302 (murder).

The police was on September 12 directed to de-seal the suite and file a compliance report by today. In this order, the court had noted that a huge financial loss has already been caused to the hotel. It had then allowed the police to take all articles from the room required for its probe.

On that day, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) had pleaded that the room should be de-sealed only after the forensic report, which was dismissed by the court.

The court had on September 4 too taken the police to task for its “lethargic attitude” in its probe into the case and had summoned the DCP to explain why more time should be granted for de-sealing the suite.

Similarly on August 19, the court had pulled up the agency for delaying the de-sealing of the room and referred to a court order passed on July 21 asking it to de-seal the occupied premises within four weeks from then.

( Source – PTI )

Police to pursue forensic psychology to probe Pushkar’s death

Police to pursue forensic psychology to probe Pushkar's death
Police to pursue forensic psychology to probe Pushkar’s death

The Delhi Police today told the Delhi High Court that it wanted to embark upon a new mode of investigation, called forensic psychology, in the death case of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar.

The police told a bench of Justices G S Sistani and Chander Shekhar that this mode of investigation would take a maximum of eight weeks after which it will file its report.

Forensic psychology is an emerging field which makes up an integral part of criminal investigation, prison and profiling systems, which is now used in some developed countries.

Responding to the police’s appeal, the bench said the probe started in 2014 and it was September 2017 now when the agency wants to pursue an additional mode of investigation.

The court then asked the police, “should any investigative agency drag the probe for so long?”

In response, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, who appeared for the police, said this new tool of investigation, which relates also to the personal questioning of certain individuals, was being resorted to ensure that “no stone is left unturned”.

Thereafter, the bench told the police to file an affidavit within two weeks placing on record the approximate time that would be taken to conclude its probe.

During the hearing, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who had sought a court-monitored SIT probe into Pushkar’s death, said the franchisee cricket tournament Indian Premier League was also an angle which needed to be examined in the case.

Therefore, the Enforcement Directorate should be made a party in this matter, he said.

The court, however, refrained from going into this aspect saying it will consider it at an appropriate stage.

“We do not want to create any distraction at this moment,” the court said and listed the matter for further hearing on October 26.

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

( Source – PTI )