6/6/2018 9:47:44 AM
|written By : Team India Se|
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor will face trial in the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.
The Congress MP has been summoned to attend a preliminary hearing by a Delhi court on July 7.
No warrants have been issued, meaning Tharoor, a former top UN diplomat and best-selling author turned member of parliament for India's opposition Congress Party, doesn't currently face arrest. He is currently on a book tour in Britain.
Tharoor's wife's suicide in 2014 was a high-profile case which gripped the country.
Pushkar, 51, was found dead in her room, suite number 345 of the luxury Leela Hotel in south Delhi on January 17, 2014, prompting frenzied media coverage and speculation about the cause of her death, which was initially labeled "unnatural" and "sudden" by doctors.
The couple had been married for less than seven years when she died, triggering an automatic investigation under Indian law, which resulted in police finally recommending charges against Tharoor in May.
Abetting a suicide carries a possible prison term of up to 10 years in India.
Reacting to the court order on June 5, Tharoor posted a statement on Twitter that he would comply with the order. He, however, reiterated that the charges were preposterous and baseless. "I will continue to vigorously contest these charges and maintain my steadfast conviction that ultimately the truth will prevail through the judicial system that we are privileged to have in our country," he stated.
The Congress Party has also previously criticised the police investigation and claimed the charges were "politically motivated".
Tharoor filed a defamation lawsuit against a prominent Indian media house that has openly accused him of involvement in his wife's death. The case is currently ongoing in a Delhi court.
A few days before Puskhar's death, reports emerged alleging that Tharoor had had an affair with a journalist from Pakistan. Indian media reported that Pushkar had hacked into her husband's Twitter account and tweeted about the alleged affair.
The journalist in question dismissed the allegations. Tharoor and Pushkar also released a joint statement, saying that they were "happily married."
The Delhi police filed a charge sheet in May, four years after Pushkar was found dead, and named her husband and Congress MP Tharoor as an accused in the case. According to the chargesheet, Pushkar killed herself by consuming an overdose of antidepressant pills, alprazolam (Alprax), and was driven to taking the extreme step by her husband.
Though it was a murder probe with the FIR registered under IPC Section 302 (murder), police have charged Tharoor under Sections 306 (abetment) and 498A (cruelty by husband) of the Indian Penal Code.