In a major embarrassment to the Congress Party, Congress Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor will face trial in the Sunanda Pushkar death case for abetment to suicide. The Patiala House Court on Monday transferred the Sunanda Pushkar case from the Magistrates Court to the Sessions Court. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal transferred the case to Additional Sessions judge Arun Bharadwaj. The Court also dismissed the plea by BJP lawmaker Subramaniam Swamy who sought to assist the court in the controversial case. The next hearing of the trial in the case will take place on February 21.
In an important development, the Court also gave directions to the Delhi Police to preserve the vigilance report in the Sunanda Pushkar case. It was Republic TV which had first exposed the story on the Delhi Police file notings that spoke about the shortcomings of Delhi Police in its investigation into the mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar. The then Commissioner of Police, Delhi had ordered a vigilance enquiry to find the police officials who had botched up this case but the vigilance report has been kept as a closely guarded secret by the Delhi Police despite various demands from multiple forums to make the report public.
Last year, the Delhi Police had named Shashi Tharoor as the lone accused in the case and charged him under Sections 498 A (husband or relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and Section 306 (abetment to suicide). A voluminous 3000-page chargesheet was also filed by the Delhi Police in the matter. Shashi Tharoor was granted bail in the case on July 7. Shashi Tharoor has consistently maintained that the charges against him are “preposterous” and “politically motivated” but the police investigation proves otherwise. Incidentally, the Delhi Police has also faced flak for its lackadaisical approach and for covering up the investigations.
Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in the Leela hotel in New Delhi on January 17, 2014. Despite the 5-year delay, the commencement of the trial in the case could herald a new turn to the high profile case.