Indian minister 'trapped' by love tweets

Mr Shashi Tharoor, a politician who was once in the running for secretary-general of the United Nations, has found himself trapped by Twitter posts that appear to reveal an alleged affair with a Pakistani journalist that has transfixed India.

Tweets to Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar were posted from Mr Tharoor's official account declaring that he loved her and was waiting to be together with her.

"I love you... And I go while in love with you, irrevocably, irreversibly..." said one, in the series of oddly worded tweets.

But Mr Tharoor, 57, who is now Junior Minister for Human Resources, took to Twitter on Wednesday to claim that those tweets were not his and that his account had been hacked.

In a bizarre twist, his wife Sunanda Pushkar, 48, told Indian newspapers on the same day that it was she who had actually sent the love tweets to Ms Tarar, to expose the Pakistani journalist.

"That woman pursued and pursued him… Men are stupid anyway… For all you know, she is a Pakistani agent," she told The Indian Express newspaper, saying that she planned to divorce her husband.

"Where's love, where's loyalty in this world… I am so distraught."

From Lahore, the attractive 45-year-old journalist and single mother at the centre of the saga expressed shock and told Indian television channels yesterday that she will sue Ms Pushkar for defaming her.

Ms Tarar, the former Op-ed editor of Pakistani newspaper Daily Times who interviewed Mr Tharoor last year, also took to Twitter.

"The only reason why I'm not responding to her trashing me. I respect Dr T very very much. I have nothing more to say," she wrote in one post.

In another post, she wrote: "For a woman to trash another woman linking her w/her husband is the lowest form of sickness ever. It's nauseous. No respect for her marriage."

Mr Tharoor, a gifted author and public speaker, married Ms Pushkar, his third wife, in 2010.

She was then a Dubai-based entrepreneur. Mr Tharoor had been in the UN for three decades, but quit in 2007 after losing the secretary-general race to Mr Ban Ki Moon.

Rumours of a rift between him and his wife had been dismissed by the couple as idle gossip.

In fact, the couple appeared to be back on the same page yesterday, issuing a joint statement on another social media site, Facebook.

"We are distressed by the unseemly controversy that has arisen about some unauthorised tweets from our Twitter accounts," the statement said, claiming that the press had "distorted" comments by Ms Pushkar.

It went on to add that Ms Pushkar had been ill and hospitalised this week and was seeking to rest, before asking for privacy from the media.

The couple then said they were "happily married and intend to remain that way".

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