Police file murder case in death of India MP's wife

Police file murder case in death of India MP's wife
Sunanda Puskhar Tharoor (R), wife of India's Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor.

One year after the wife of former United Nations diplomat and Indian minister Shashi Tharoor was found dead in a five-star luxury hotel in Delhi, the Indian police have registered a case of murder, leading to the likelihood of Mr Tharoor being questioned in the case.

Delhi police chief B.S. Bassi said yesterday that a murder case had been filed against "unknown persons" after the latest medical report, submitted on Dec 29, concluded that the 52-year-old Ms Sunanda Pushkar was poisoned and did not commit suicide as was earlier suspected. "Sunanda Pushkar died of poisoning which was either given to her orally or injected inside her body … whether someone had forcibly given her the poison we will know from investigations," said Mr Bassi.

The Delhi police chief further revealed that tests in India had not been able to identify the poison and that samples taken would now be sent abroad for tests. Indian media reports speculated that the medical report mentioned one of the possible poisons to be Polonium 210.

The death of Ms Pushkar last January had grabbed national attention as Mr Tharoor, 58, a high-flying diplomat turned politician, was at the time junior minister for human resources development in the Congress-led government.

Two days before her death on Jan 17, Ms Pushkar engaged in a public Twitter spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar, whom she accused of stalking her husband. She also accused her husband of having an extramarital affair with Ms Tarar.

Within 24 hours, however, she backtracked - issuing a joint statement with her husband saying they were happily married. Mr Tharoor discovered Ms Pushkar's body in their hotel suite after he returned from a Congress party meeting on Jan 17.

The couple were married for more than three years. Both had been married before.

Yesterday's twist in the sensational case took Mr Tharoor, a Member of Parliament from the southern state of Kerala, by surprise.

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