Court summons  Shashi Tharoor as accused in Sunanda Pushkar death case

New Delhi: A Delhi court Tuesday summoned Congress leader Shashi Tharoor as an accused in the case related to his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death and asked him to appear before it on July 7, saying there were sufficient grounds to proceed against him.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal took cognisance of Tharoor’s alleged offences of abetment of suicide and committing cruelty towards Pushkar.

“I have heard the prosecutor. I have gone through and perused the charge sheet and the documents filed along with it. On the basis of police report (charge sheet), I take cognisance of offence of abetment of suicide of late Sunanda Pushkar and committing cruelty upon her by Dr Shashi Tharoor,” the judge said.

“There exists sufficient grounds to proceed against Tharoor for commission of offences of Section 306 and 498 A of IPC. Issue summons to him for appearance for July 7,” the court added.

Tharoor’s lawyer and senior advocate Vikas Pahwa told reporters immediately after the court pronounced the order that no offence was made out against the Congress leader and the prosecution’s case was “absurd and preposterous”.

“We shall be asking for a copy of the charge sheet and the documents relied upon by the prosecution. After going through them, we shall decide our further course of action. Dr Tharoor will take all legal remedies available to him in law.

“Since no offences are made out and the prosecution case is absurd, preposterous and contrary to various judgments of the Supreme Court, we shall take appropriate steps to deal with it,” Pahwa said.

On May 28, the court had reserved 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 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, the police named Tharoor as the only accused while also alleging that he had subjected his wife to cruelty. It had also urged the court to summon Tharoor 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.

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.

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.

Yesterday, the court also heard 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.

Opposing his application, Additional Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava said it was premature.

He also opposed Swamy’s request to summon the vigilance inquiry report, saying it was not required.

“This case is sessions triable. This court being a magisterial court is not going to conduct the trial. Therefore, the application is premature. Taking report of the vigilance inquiry on record is not required since police has already done its work,” Shrivastava said.

However, Swamy said there are a number of instances of tampering with evidence.

“Even the police team of that time tried to project it as a natural death and the FIR was not lodged for one year,” he told the court.

The court has kept the application pending for next date of hearing — July 7.

“An application of Subramanian Swamy is pending. Let the prosecution file a written reply of this application by the next date of hearing with advance copy to Swamy,” it said.


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