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Sunanda Pushkar death case: HC seeks govt stand on Tharoor's plea for production of tweets

The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought the AAP government's response on Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's plea that the police be directed to place before the trial court certain tweets of his wife Sunanda Pushkar before her death in 2014.

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Last Updated: Feb 27, 2020, 06.58 PM IST
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The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought the AAP government's response on Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's plea that the police be directed to place before the trial court certain tweets of his wife Sunanda Pushkar before her death in 2014. Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri issued notice to the Delhi government and asked it to file a status report on the petition by Tharoor who has claimed that the tweets of his wife, in the days prior to her death, would be an indication of her state of mind.

The Congress MP has moved the high court against a trial court order of January 30 dismissing his plea for directions to the police to place before it certain tweets of Pushkar.

The high court said the tweets were available in the public domain and the Congress leader can access it from there and place it before the trial court.

To this, senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, who appeared for Tharoor, told the high court that arguments on charge are going on and he would have to rely on the prosecution evidence, which includes the tweets.

That is why he was asking the police to place on record the entire tweets as the agency had her phone, Pahwa said.

After hearing brief arguments on behalf of Tharoor, the high court listed the matter for further hearing on March 18.

In the trial court, Tharoor, the sole accused in the death case of his wife, had contended that the Delhi Police was trying to selectively place reliance on some of Pushkar's tweets to claim the differences which allegedly led her to commit suicide, whereas in entirety they showed her positive frame of mind and that she was quite optimistic about her relationship with him.

The former Union minister was accused by Delhi Police under Sections 498-A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.

The trial court had dismissed his plea saying that "at the stage of (framing of) charge such a roving inquiry by the court is not expected".

Tharoor had earlier told the trial court, "This is a case where cause of death is not established yet. The charge sheet took very adventurous route and wanted a psychological autopsy. But nothing has established in the case. There are rather reports which say it was neither homicide nor suicide.

"A psychological autopsy was conducted. They wanted to know the mental status of victim. But till date they are not clear whether she committed suicide or it was a homicide."

The tweets clearly indicate that Pushkar was not having any "suicidal ideation" as is sought to be alleged by the prosecution, he had contended.

The police had told the court that Pushkar was suffering from mental agony due to a strained relationship with her husband.

She had a scuffle with her husband and had various injury marks a few days before her death, it had said.

Police has accused Tharoor of torturing his wife which led her to commit suicide.

The maximum punishment for the offence listed in the charge sheet is 10 years of imprisonment. However, if convicted for 302 (murder), the maximum punishment is death penalty while the minimum is life imprisonment.

Pushkar, 51, was found dead in a suite of luxury hotel Leela Palace in Delhi's Chanakyapuri on the night of January 17, 2014.

The couple was staying at the hotel as the official bungalow of Tharoor was being renovated at that time.

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