Sunanda Pushkar cremated; doctors say death `unnatural`

Shiv Menon, son of late Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor performed the last rites on Saturday, who was found dead in Leela palace hotel under mysterious circumstances in the national capital last night.

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: Shiv Menon, son of late Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor performed the last rites on Saturday, who was found dead in Leela palace hotel under mysterious circumstances in the national capital last night.

Pushkar`s husband Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, her father Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Pushkar Nath Dass and brother were among the family members present at the Lodhi Road crematorium.

Sunanda`s 21-year-old son from her previous marriage, could barely hold back his tears as he lit the sandalwood pyre consigning her body to flames.
Wearing a white kurta-pyjama, a grieving Tharoor carried out the last rites of his wife.

Sunanda`s anguished father was escorted to the pyre by his family members where he broke into tears on seeing Sunanda`s body draped in a red saree.

It was a melancholic scene as he then embraced his grandfather and tried to console him.

Earlier in the day, her body was taken from AIIMS to Tharoor`s residence at Lodhi Estate where a number of prominent political leaders including Defence Minister AK Antony, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit paid tributes to her.

A three-member panel of doctors headed by Dr Sudhir K Gupta had conducted an autopsy on Sunanda`s body in AIIMS.
With doctors declaring her death in a five-star hotel yesterday as "sudden, unnatural" after the autopsy conducted today, the focus of investigations shifted to potential causes that led to the demise of 52-year-old Sunanda.

Meanwhile, sources said that a drug overdose could be a possible cause of the Sunanda`s death. The Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) will record Shashi Tharoor`s statement again on Monday.

Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat had said that an inquest proceedings have been initiated by the sub-divisional magistrate of the area. Any death within seven years of marriage is legally required to be investigated by the sub-divisional magistrate.

Tharoor, 57, who was himself admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for 11 hours after he complained of chest pain Friday, broke down many times. He accompanied Pushkar`s body in the ambulance to their residence at 97, Lodhi Estate and then later to the crematorium.

52-year-old Sunanda was found dead in her suite at the Leela Palace hotel last evening and the body was shifted to AIIMS at around 3:30 AM for post-mortem.

Sunanda and Tharoor were at the centre of a raging controversy when reports emerged that she was upset over reported text and tweet messages between her husband and Mehr Tarar, a Pakistani journalist.

Her death came barely 24 hours after she and Tharoor declared they were "happily married" following public airing of tweets that hinted at an extra-marital relationship and the alleged involvement of a Pakistani woman.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi visited Tharoor`s residence after the cremation. Earlier, many of his cabinet colleagues dropped in to pay their condolences. Prime Minister Manmoahn Singh also condoled the death, saying that "we are with you in this hour of grief".

Speaking to reporters after two-hour long post-mortem, Sudhir Kumar Gupta, head of the department of forensic medicine at AIIMS said, "After post-mortem examination, we found that it was a case of sudden unnatural death.

"There were certain injury marks on the body. Since the investigating agency is probing the issue and there are certain issues with the injury, the details cannot be revealed," Gupta, who was part of a three-member team that conducted the autopsy, added.

Sleuths scanned CCTV footage of the hotel where her body was found and questioned staff, who told police about the couple`s constant arguments. The couple had moved to The Leela Palace hotel in south Delhi Thursday as their house was being painted.
Police will also take a statement from Tharoor, the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram.

Doctors at a Kerala hospital where Pushkar was undergoing treatment said that she did not had any grave illness. The couple returned from Kerala after her three-day stay in KIMS Hospital.

At the Lodhi Road crematorium, Pushkar`s son and father PN Dass were inconsolable. Both at the mortuary and at the cremation ground Pushkar`s son broke down several times.

But whenever Tharoor tried to console him, Shiv moved away every times.

He and Tharoor stayed till the last. But when they left, Shiv again returned and whispered to his grandfather: "This is an end."

A magisterial enquiry has already been ordered in the death as the couple got married in August 2010. It was the third marriage for both.

With agency inputs