Delhi: In a new turn of events, the Delhi Police on Tuesday registered a murder case in the death of Congress leader and MP, Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar, who died under mysterious circumstances in January last year.
The murder case was filed on the basis of a medical report that concluded her death was unnatural and due to poisoning.
The disclosure was made by Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi to the media.
It was not clear whether she had consumed the poison on her own or it was administered forcefully or by injection, he said, as per PTI.
Police filed the case of murder under section 302 of the IPC but no one has been named in the FIR.
"Nobody has been named in the case," Bassi told reporters in reply to questions.
The murder case was filed nearly a year after 51-year-old Sunanda was found dead in a luxury hotel here on January 17, 2014.
"On 29th December, the medical board of AIIMS has given us a report. The main thing they have informed us is that the death is unnatural and not natural. Secondly, it is due to poison that could have been taken orally or injected and they have told us other things as well," Bassi said.
He said since tests to find out the quantum and nature of the poison cannot take place in India, the police have decided to send samples abroad for examination.
"So it was necessary that a case be registered. We have registered a case and we will investigate," he said in reply to questions.
Asked whether Tharoor would be questioned in the light of the latest development, Bassi said, "Now as we have registered a case of murder, all those people who were connected with the case will be examined."
"All the witnesses in this case were examined by the SDM, as he conducted inquest proceedings. So, all relevant witnesses were examined by him, we had also examined them under Section 174 of the Cr.PC.
"Now as we have registered a case of murder, all those people connected with the case will be examined," he said.
Bassi said the AIIMS report has not specified the nature of the poison and how it was administered into her body. The substance is still not clear but the death is due to poisoning, he said.
Asked why a case was being registered one year after the incident, he said the medical report which the police got initially was "interim".
The doctors needed certain information which was gathered and given to them, he said, noting after that they demanded some more information.
"Now they (doctors) have given us some conclusions on the basis of available information. So on the basis of that report it was necessary to file a case and proceed further in the probe," Bassi said.
The report has not given definitive conclusion about how poison was present in the body but it has suggested more possibility of injection having been administered, he said.
Sunanda's death had created a sensation as it came hot on the heels of a bitter spat between the couple over the twitter over his alleged affair with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar.
Reactions by Congress, BJP
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said registration of a case one year after the death raises question marks and suspicions. "It is a legal process. Every case need not be sensationalised," he said.
On the other hand, BJP spokesman GVL Narasimha Rao said the registration of a murder case has ended the confusion and hoped that the investigation will be concluded soon and the guilty prosecuted.
Congress General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi later said there should be an "impartial inquiry, just investigation and appropriate action" in the matter.
"Shashi Tharoor has said he will cooperate in the investigation. It is a very good stand. There must be an impartial inquiry, just investigation and appropriate action. There should be no discrimination (either) in someone's favour or against," he said.
Shashi Tharoor 'stunned'
Tharoor said he was 'stunned' over Delhi Police registering a murder case in connection with death of his wife Sunanda. Calling for a "comprehensive investigation" into the case so that "unvarnished truth" comes out, he said he will continue to extend full cooperation to the police.
Following is the statement issued by the Congress leader's office:
I am stunned to hear that the Delhi Police have filed a case of murder against unknown persons in the demise of my late wife Sunanda. Needless to say I am anxious to see this case is investigated thoroughly and continue to assure the Police of my full co-operation. Although we never thought of any foul play in the death of my wife, we all want that a comprehensive investigation be conducted and that the unvarnished truth should come out.In the meantime, I join all members of Sunanda's family in asking for full information about the basis on which the Police have come to this conclusion. We have not been provided with copies of the post-mortem report and other reports of the inquiry like the CFSL report till date. We repeat our request for a copy of these reports to be provided to us immediately.
Viscera samples to be sent to US or Britain
Delhi Police will send her viscera samples to a laboratory either in Britain or the US to identify the poison including whether it could be radioactive isotopes that cannot be detected in Indian labs.
Sources said Polonium 210, a radioactive isotope is suspected to be the poison that may have caused her death, as per PTI.
"The viscera samples may now be sent to an FBI lab in the US or lab in UK," said a senior police official.
Earlier medical reports had mentioned 12 injury marks on Sunanda's body including an injection mark on her hand and a teeth bite.
Doctors from the medical board had visited the crime spot (suite of the five-star hotel) in the first week of November along with police officials where they examined the room and lifted samples.
After analyzing it, they have submitted the third and final report in the case on December 29.
"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," the sources said.
A Special Team which has been formed to probe the case will investigate the case from scratch.
With Agency inputs