Congress MP Shashi Tharoor was cleared by a Delhi court today of charges linked to the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar in 2014.
Sunanda Pushkar, 51, was found dead in a suite of a luxury hotel in Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014. She had moved into the hotel because the MP’s home was being renovated.
Shashi Tharoor was charged with abetment to suicide and cruelty by the Delhi Police.
The court today refused to frame charges against Mr Tharoor, 65, and cleared the former Union Minister of all charges.
“Most grateful, your honour. It’s been seven-and-half years of absolute torture. I really appreciate it,” Mr Tharoor said.
In a longer statement later, he wrote that his family would finally mourn Sunanda Pushkar in peace. “This brings a significant conclusion to the long nightmare which had enveloped me after the tragic passing of my late wife Sunanda. I have weathered dozens of unfounded accusations and media vilification patiently, sustained my faith in the judiciary, which today stands vindicated,” he wrote.
Mr Tharoor said in the current system of justice, the process was all too often the punishment.
The Congress leader, seeking his discharge, had told the court that evidence showed the death of Sunanda Pushkar was neither a suicide nor homicide.
The death should be considered an accident, he had said, as Ms Pushkar had been struggling with various medical ailments at the time of her death.
“Not even a single witness” had made any allegations of dowry, harassment or cruelty against Mr Tharoor, his lawyer Vikas Pahwa had argued.
The lawyer also said a Special Investigation team had exonerated the politician.
After years of investigation by the police, the prosecution had failed to conclusively establish the cause of Ms Pushkar’s death, the court was told.
Mr Tharoor and Ms Pushkar married in 2010. Her death four years later triggered shock and speculation in political circles, especially as some of her last tweets hinted at a rift between the two and appeared to accuse the MP of an affair with a Pakistani journalist.
The police had first claimed that Sunanda Pushkar was poisoned. A year later, they registered a murder case without naming any suspect.
Mr Tharoor, frequently targeted by political rivals over the case, had called the charges “preposterous and baseless” and the product of a “malicious and vindictive campaign”.