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Delhi court drops charges against Shashi Tharoor in Sunanda Pushkar death case

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A Delhi court on Wednesday cleared Congress MP Shashi Tharoor from all charges he was booked under, in relation to the death of his wife and businesswoman Sunanda Pushkar.

Special Judge at Rouse Avenue Court Geetanjali Goel delivered the verdict through video-conferencing. She thanked the Counsels for both the parties and said she learnt a lot from this hearing.

The former Union minister was booked under Sections 306 (abetment to suicide) and 498A (marital cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code in 2014. After acquittal, he said it was an ‘absolute torture for seven-and-a-half years’.

Public Prosecutor Atul Kumar Srivastava appeared on behalf of the state, while senior advocate Vikas Pahwa represented Tharoor.

Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel of Delhi on January 17, 2014. Tharoor was a minister in the UPA government then and the couple was staying at the hotel as their official residence was being renovated. The former Under-Secretary General of the United Nations was booked under relevant sections of law by Delhi Police, but not arrested in the case. Tharoor was granted bail in July, 2018.

On August 31, 2019, the Delhi Police had asked a Delhi court to prosecute Tharoor for abetment to suicide or “alternatively” frame murder charges against him in connection with Pushkar’s death.

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The prosecution had submitted that while post-mortem opined the cause of death was poisoning, there were 15 ante mortem injuries of which were 12 hours to four days old and produced in a scuffle.

Tharoor’s lawyer, Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa, had rebutted this by stating that the cause of Pushkar’s death was yet to be established, even though the police took a very ‘adventurous route’ in its probe.

Special Judge Geetanjali Goel was initially scheduled to deliver its judgment on July 27, but deferred its order to August 18, allowing the prosecution to submit certain documents. The documents include various judgements from the Supreme Court and High Courts, along with written submissions.

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