I had no idea who Sunanda Pushkar was till a controversy broke out involving the Kochi franchise in the Indian Premier League (IPL). It was known that she was married to Shashi Tharoor, then a Minister in the Union cabinet in the UPA government. The controversy ended with the team being turfed out of the IPL and one didn’t hear much about Ms. Pushkar until in Jan 2014 when one fine day she was found dead in the luxurious Leela Hotel in New Delhi.
As far as I can make out, the initial verdict veered towards suggesting she had committed suicide with an overdose of pills. Some said she was very depressed during her last days not only because of issues related to the IPL but also since she suspected her husband could be having an affair with the Pakistani journalist, Meher Tahar. Tweets by Sunanda herself led many to believe this could well be one of the causes for her death.
Others however didn’t buy the suicide theory and felt she had been killed, though how and by whom remained unclear. Further controversy came about when the senior doctor of AIIMS, Dr. Sudhir Gupta, who conducted the post-mortem declared he had been pressurized to write the cause of death was “natural”
Nearly a year has gone by since her death in January 2014. The UPA Government has been sent packing and the NDA Government is now in power which means much of Mr. Tharoor’s influence would have diminished. Today I read the not unexpected news that the Delhi Police have now declared that Ms. Pushkar died of poisoning and a charge of murder has been filed.
Sure, Mr. Tharoor has a cast iron alibi. He was at the Congress Committee meeting when she was presumably killed but the story is a murky one with rumours of deals relating to the IPL, match fixing and worse doing the rounds. People speak of hired killers who may have come from abroad and stayed in the hotel. There is reason to believe the crime scene, as often happens in India, may have been tampered with. After all, nearly a whole year has gone by since that ill fated day for her.
This will be one story that will be followed with lots of interest as it involves celebrities, the rich and the powerful and who knows what else. As a writer of thrillers, this could be the plot for a fictionalized best seller but sadly here we are speaking of the tragic story of a beautiful woman who died much before her time.