Friday, 17 August 2018

Police files charge sheet in Sunanda death case; names Tharoor as accused

New Delhi, May 14 (PTI) The Delhi Police today accused Congress leader Shashi Tharoor of abetting the suicide of his wife Sunanda Pushkar and told a city court that he should be summoned as an accused in the four-and-half year-old case, as there was sufficient evidence against him.

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

The charge sheet was filed before Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmendra Singh, who will consider it on May 24.

Also Read: Chargesheet preposterous, intend to contest it: Shashi Tharoor

The agency urged the court to summon Tharoor, the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram, as an accused.

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

Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel room 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.

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

“It is presumed that if she has committed suicide, she must have been subjected to cruelty before death. Court may take cognisance of this fact that it is a case of abetment as the death has taken place within seven years of the marriage and under the law a case of abetment is made out,” Special Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava told the Court while paacing the charge sheet before it.

Under Section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act, a court “may presume, having regard to all the other circumstances of the case, that … suicide had been abetted by her husband or by such relative of her husband” if she kills herself within seven years from the date of her marriage.

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.

Pushkar was found dead in the suite of the South Delhi hotel on January 17, 2014. 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).

According to prosecution sources, the charge sheet has mentioned that Pushkar was allegedly subjected to mental as well as physical cruelty.

After all the possible and material evidence collected and verified, it was felt that Tharoor’s custodial interrogation was not required in the case as of now, the charge sheet said.

The sources said since the investigation was still on, the police can seek custodial interrogation of the accused if the situation arises, but at present no such demand has been made.

Tharoor has not been arrested in the case so far as he had joined the investigation when required.

The copy of the chargesheet was not made public immediately and it is not known as to what weighed with the police to omit the charge of murder, which was initially in the FIR when it was filed against unknown persons.

The Delhi High Court had last year in 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”.

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

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.

Delhi Police, in its affidavit filed in the apex court, had said then 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.

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