BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has filed a PIL with the Delhi High Court seeking a time-bound court-monitored multi-disciplinary probe into the death of Sunanda Pushkar, the wife of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor. The bench of Justices GS Sistani and Chander Shekhar are hearing this case.
On the last date of hearing (August 1), Delhi Police had filed copies of the status report which advocate Pawah, the counsel for Sunanda Pushkar’s son Shiv Menon, wanted to examine. The court has not taken lightly to the fact that the final report has not been filed even three and-a-half years after the death.
On Wednesday (August 30), the court gave Delhi Police two weeks to come up with the status report, failing which, the court warned, “we will look into it”.
At the last hearing, Sunanda’s son Shiv Menon had said that he was highly concerned about the steps taken. The court had said that he and the petitioner should exchange the copies of their applications. It may be recalled that Menon had objected to Swamy’s intervention and had questioned his locus standi in this case.
On Wednesday, Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain was present from the Union of India. He said: “I want to make a submission, that so far as that petition is concern, this is not an adversarial petition. Petitioner has brought in a certain aspect. Ultimately, it has to be analysed by this court. And we have brought the investigation documents which can be shown to the bench in the chamber, all senior officers are present from Delhi Police.
“In this matter samples have gone to scientific labs in the US three times. I don’t want to open my report in the court room. The DCP is here, please have the report in your chambers,” Jain said to the bench.
He also said: “On our part there has not been any delay, and after seeing the report you may find this. If you still feel not satisfied you can take action.”
The bench said: “As you were not here Mr Sanjay Jain, we want to share with you the synopsis of previous hearings. We want to know why the status report has not been filed in the death of Sunanda Pushkar since January 2014. We have told the son (Menon) that we are not opposing the petition, but we want to know the cause of the death and what has been done so far. Where we have reached since Jan 2014, we want to know.”
Respondent Jain said: “Ultimately, the analysis of the report will say where we have reached and for that it is essential to see the report.”
The bench said: “For us every case is in question. We want to know why there has not been any report filed in the last three-and-a-half years. We are not monitoring your investigation and we are not questioning your investigation. We just want to know where we have reached up till now.
The bench then asked Swamy if he had anything to say.
Swamy said: “I am not seeking the exclusion of the Delhi Police from the SIT investigation. I want them to be part of the CBI enquiry or the SIT investigating team. I want their cooperation in the matter. The police journal says that the name of the poison is not important but also says that when it comes to drawing a conclusion it is poison you have to investigate. Four times they have said that this is an unnatural death and the cause of death is poison. They have gone to the FBI and all the things, in all what they have done so far is delay the proceedings.
“The AIIMS clearly said that this is a case of poisoning and it is an unnatural death. I wrote last year to the government saying that this should be referred to a SIT. The government said ‘we are into the investigation and this would delay the proceedings’. Today also they are saying the same thing,” said Swamy. “They have gone around the world to know the name of the poison and now they say the name of the poison is irrelevant.”
The bench asked the government counsel: “We want to know how close we are in the investigation.”
Counsel Jain said: “Certain agencies are examining the matter and the cause of death. Some said it is poison and some said it is not. Thereafter it was sent to the US forensic lab. We have to analyse the answers which have come. This will take some time.”
The bench asked for a clarification: “By you, is it unnatural death?”
Counsel Jain’s reply was not clear. He said: “The individual is totally immaterial in this case.”
That was when the bench said: “We are saying something, listen to us. We posted it after two weeks and in the meantime please read the report and if something different comes out please tell us. Otherwise, we will look into it.”
Then the bench told Swamy: “We don’t know whether they are going to file the closure report or a chargesheet. If they file a chargesheet your problem is solved.”
—India Legal Bureau