Sunanda Pushkar case: Police rapped for not unsealing hotel suite

Sunanda Pushkar
PTI Photo

New Delhi (PTI): The city police on Tuesday came under fire again from a Delhi court for not complying with its order to unseal a five-star hotel suite where Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in 2014.

[Pushkar was a Canadian citizen who spent five years in the Toronto area and was a Canadian citizen, according to a report in the Toronto Star newspaper back in 2014. She died the day after a twitter spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar over an alleged affair with her husband. Her son from a previous marriage, Shiv Menon, told Indian media at the time that his mother was “too strong” to commit suicide and died due to an unfortunate combination of media stress, tensions and a wrong mix of different medication, as was reported in The VOICE at the time.]

Sunanda Pushkar with Shashi Tharoor

Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh said the hotel room should have been opened by today and directed the Joint Commissioner of the Delhi Police to appear before the court and explain why the order has not been complied with.

The court made the observations after the police filed a report stating that the results from the forensic laboratories were still awaited and some more time be given to it.

“Do you (police) want to initiate proceedings against yourself? I have already passed an order. You think of legal consequences. It can’t go on like this,” the judge said.

The court also directed the police to file a list containing the names of members of its special investigating team probing the case.

While the South Delhi hotel has been urging the court to direct the police to unseal the room which was sealed for investigation soon after Pushkar was found dead on January 17, 2014, the court had also directed the police to do so on a few occasions.

Hours after Pushkar was found dead, the suite was sealed that night itself for investigation. A case was registered by Delhi police on January 1, 2015 against unknown persons under IPC section 302 (murder).

The police was on September 12 directed to unseal the suite and file a compliance report by today. In this order, the court had noted that a huge financial loss has already been caused to the hotel. It had then allowed the police to take all articles from the room required for its probe.

On that day, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) had pleaded that the room should be unsealed only after the forensic report, which was dismissed by the court.

The court had on September 4 also taken the police to task for its “lethargic attitude” in its probe into the case and had summoned the DCP to explain why more time should be granted for unsealing the suite.

Similarly on August 19, the court had pulled up the agency for delaying the unsealing of the room and referred to a court order passed on July 21 asking it to unseal the occupied premises within four weeks from then.


BACK in 2014, the Toronto Star reported 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 them 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.

“According to a declaration of assets in January 2013, she listed 12 apartments in Dubai: some rented out, some still under construction. The total value of her assets, including jewelry and cars, was approximately $21 million. The declaration is available on the Indian prime minister’s website, the Star reported.

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.