New Delhi: The Delhi Police has formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe afresh the Sunanda Pushkar death case, city Police Commissioner BS Bassi told reporters on Wednesday.
Bassi made the announcement a day after stating that his force had registered a case of murder under Section 302 in connection with the mysterious death of Sunanda, wife of former union minister Shashi Tharoor.
“When we file a case under Section 302 of IPC, it means we have prima facie reasons to believe that it is a case of murder,” Bassi said today.
Asked whether Tharoor would be questioned in the case, he only said, “Whatever is necessary has been done, whatever will be necessary will be done.”
According to him, DCP South will head and monitor the probe by the SIT which will also consist of Additional DCP South, one inspector and an SHO.
He further said that the SIT will proceed as per its investigation plan as far as evidence collection and questioning is concerned.
“We will share details with you (media) as and when things happen,” he said.
Justifying the filing of an FIR almost an year after the death, Bassi said, “The final medical report warranted an FIR to be registered so that the samples can be sent abroad.”
The announcement came on a day when it emerged that the cops from the capital had recently met Kerala doctors who had treated Sunanda last January.
Sources said Delhi Police officials met doctors at the Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) in Thiruvananthapuram on December 2 last year and asked them to share details of Sunanda's medical records.
After Sunanda's death last January, doctors at the KIMS had claimed that Sunanda was not suffering from any critical condition which could have led to her sudden death.
Tharoor, on the other hand, had claimed that Sunanda, who stayed at the hospital between January 12 and 14 last year, was suffering from lopus and was administered heavy medication. Doctors at AIIMS have also refuted the Congress leader's claims.
The police, meanwhile, are likely to send Sunanda's viscera samples to a foreign laboratory to determine which poison caused her death.
Police sources said the viscera samples will be sent to either the United Kingdom or the United States. Police want to confirm if the poison was radioactive isotopes, which cannot be detected in Indian labs.
As per Bassi, it is not clear whether 51-year-old Sunanda, who was found dead in a luxury hotel here on January 17 last year, consumed poison on her own or if it was administered forcefully or by injection. He added that the final medical report received from AIIMS has revealed that Sunanda died of poisoning.
Sources said Polonium 210, a radioactive isotope, is suspected to be the poison that may have caused her death.
"The medical board had maintained that the death was unnatural and due to poisoning. However, it has clearly listed a number of poisons, most of which are radioactive chemicals which cannot be detected during forensic tests in Indian labs including thallium, polonium 210, nerium oleander, snake venom, photolabile poisons and heroin," sources said.
The viscera report of CFSL in March last year had hinted at drug poisoning but police considered it as inconclusive and asked AIIMS to re-examine the report and give its findings.
Previous medical reports had also mentioned 12 injury marks on Sunanda's body including an injection mark on her hand and a teeth bite.
While no one has been named in the FIR, Bassi hasn't ruled out questioning Tharoor in the matter. Apart from the Congress leader, his relatives and personal staff along with employees of the five-star hotel where Sunanda was found dead could also be cross-examined, sources said.
The police will also examine the hotel doctor who declared Sunanda dead and go through CCTV footage of the hotel. The forensic report of Sunanda's mobile phones and laptop which were sent for tests will also be evaluated.
Sunanda was found dead in the five-star hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, a day after her Twitter spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar over an alleged affair with Tharoor.
(With agency inputs)