New Delhi (IANS): Delhi Police Thursday questioned Congress MP Shashi Tharoor over the ownership of Kochi Tuskers, a defunct IPL franchisee, to find out if his murdered wife Sunanda Pushkar [a Canadian citizen] received equity on his behalf from the franchisee.
Tharoor along with five people including his domestic help Narayan Singh and driver Bajrangi were called by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) for questioning at its Anti Auto Theft Squad (AATS) office in south Delhi’s Vasant Vihar.
Police had constituted the SIT after registering a murder case against unknown people January 1 this year. Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel room Jan 17, 2014 under mysterious circumstances.
Tharoor’s questioning began at 11.30 a.m. and continued for four-and-a-half hours. He first went to the Sarojini Nagar police station in south Delhi and was taken to the Vasant Vihar police station.
The SIT led by Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police P.S. Kushwaha asked Tharoor a number of questions concerning the Kochi franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Tharoor, who is the Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram, was asked questions over the ownership pattern of Kochi Tuskers to find out if Sunanda Pushkar was the front for him when she received Rs.75 crore [1 crore = 10 million] equity of the Kochi team.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Mangesh Kashyap from the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) was also part of the probe team.
The IPL controversy broke out in 2010 when Tharoor was minister of state for external affairs in the then United Progressive Alliance government. He had to resign from the government over the controversy.
Tharoor’s domestic help Narayan Singh and his driver Bajrangi were also questioned along with three other people, whose names were not disclosed by police.
Since the SIT began probing the murder case at the start of this year, Narayan Singh has been questioned twice and Bajrangi once.
Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi said Tharoor was questioned based on information concerning the case.
“After examining his answers during the last interrogation, we questioned him again. Some associates of Tharoor are also being questioned,” Bassi told reporters here.
Police sources said Pushkar’s viscera report has been sent to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) lab in the United States.
The SIT probing the case has so far questioned at least 15 people, including Tharoor, his staff members, close friends of the couple and the staff of Leela Palace hotel where Pushkar was found dead.
Pushkar’s son Shiv Menon was quizzed by the SIT Feb 5 for around eight hours. Police sources said Menon was asked about the state of relations between Tharoor and Pushkar.
Former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh was also questioned by SIT Jan 28 in the case.
Two journalists – Nalini Singh and Rahul Kanwal – have already deposed before the SIT.
LAST year, the Toronto Star report said that Pushkar was a Canadian citizen who moved to Toronto in 1999 with her son, but her stay was “a bit of a mystery.”
Pushkar is said to have moved to Toronto with her son Shiv (from her second marriage) from Dubai with a banker of Pakistani origin reportedly after financial losses. Her second husband returned to India where he allegedly committed suicide in 1997.
Jacob Joseph Puthenparambil, a digital media specialist in Singapore who was chief of staff for Tharoor from early 2009 to June 2010, said that after her husband’s death, her son, who was then 5 or 6, stopped talking because of shock. Pushkar learned that she could get care in Canada for Shiv, who is now an actor living in Mumbai, said the Star.
She told Tehelka, a weekly news magazine in New Delhi, in 2010 that she started life in Canada from scratch, doing odd jobs for some time before getting into the IT sector.
She said that they tied up with companies like Compaq and headhunted in India for them. Then she started working with a San Francisco company called Valley Resources and made good money, enrolling her son in a private school.
She also reportedly worked for Noble House International, a global real estate company. In 2004, a company called Best Homes sent her to Dubai to set up its real estate operations.
The Star said that she bought a house for $325,000 in Markham in December 2000, according to property records, and that the house is still in her name.
Pushkar, who first met Tharoor in 2009 in Dubai when he was still married to Christa Giles, a Canadian diplomat he had met at the UN, married him in 2010.