Indian MP charged over wife’s death

NEW DELHI – India’s Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has been charged with abetting the suicide of his wife Sunanda Pushkar, who was found dead in a five-star hotel in Delhi in 2014.

Tharoor, a parliamentarian from Kerala, has also been accused of cruelty to his wife, in a police charge sheet submitted in a Delhi court on Monday.

Tharoor, in tweets, called the charges “preposterous”. Backing him, the Congress denounced what it called a “politically-motivated charge sheet”. Tharoor is the only person named as an accused in the 3,000-page charge sheet.

He also tweeted that he was “trying to focus on work while others relish their distractions”. Finally, he announced that he would be off Twitter for a while, in a post mocking critics of his verbosity.

Sunanda Pushkar, 51, was found dead in her hotel suite on January 17, 2014, days after she publicly accused her husband of having an affair with a Pakistani journalist. A day before her death, she had called a prominent journalist and had talked about a big reveal.

The police first claimed that Sunanda Pushkar was poisoned, and registered a murder case in January 2015, without naming any suspect. The AIIMS hospital had called her death “unnatural”.

The police now say they have no proof of murder but it was evident Sunanda Pushkar had been driven to suicide; she had not been eating or leaving her room, according to the charge-sheet. Police add the couple fought frequently and Sunanda Pushkar had been taking depression pills without a prescription.

The 62-year-old former union minister was questioned more than once by the police, who had asked him to describe the circumstances in which his wife checked into the hotel two days before her death. The couple had allegedly had a huge fight on a flight from Kerala to Delhi.