HC questions delay in probe into Sunanda Pushkar’s death

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New Delhi, Aug 1 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Tuesday questioned the city police over the delay in probing the death of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar here in 2014.

A division bench of Justice G.S. Sistani and Justice Chander Shekhar expressed concern that though the Delhi Police had collected evidence in February 2015, the court was yet to get the final result of the electronic evidence seized, including that of the close friends of Tharoor and Pushkar.

“We are also concerned as to who the real culprit is,” said the bench.

Pushkar, 52, was found dead in a Delhi hotel room on January 17, 2014.

The court was hearing a plea by Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy for a court-monitored probe by a multi-disciplinary Special Investigation Team led by the Central Bureau of Investigation into Pushkar’s death.

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Shiv Menon, son of Pushkar from her earlier marriage, had also approached the court to intervene in the case on the ground that the BJP leader had no locus standi on the issue of his mother’s death. Tharoor’s step-son Menon said Swamy filed this plea to get publicity.

On the other hand, Swamy said Pushkar’s son was not interested in knowing the reason behind her death and was “only interested in her property in Canada”.

The bench was not convinced with the police’s submission on the difference in the findings of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory and the Forensic Science Laboratory.

The bench expressed displeasure over the contention in the status report that data from some mobile phones seized during investigation have been deleted and the Indian forensic laboratories have been unable to retrieve these.

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Approvals for sending these devices to their manufacturers abroad for chip-level retrieval are being obtained from competent authorities, the police told the bench.

In response, the court asked the police to file an additional affidavit on the issue before August 30, the next date of hearing.

Swamy earlier told the court that there were constant attempts to block the investigations and an FIR was registered after almost a year and nothing had happened since.

Even after three years, the Delhi Police had not arrested anyone and no custodial interrogation took place, Swamy had said, adding that the post-mortem examination report confirmed Pushkar’s death was “unnatural” and “due to poison”.

Swamy sought a time-bound probe, saying “very influential people are involved in the case, leading to attempts to protect them, and the matter has faced a lot of unnecessary delay already”.

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The BJP leader had claimed that a few days before her death, Pushkar had called for a press conference so as to expose a serious corruption case.

–IANS

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