By PTI

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Wednesday discharged senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor in a case related to his wife Sunanda Pushkar’s death in a luxury hotel here. Special Judge Geetanjali Goel pronounced the order in a virtual hearing.

The detailed order is awaited. After the order was pronounced, Tharoor, who had joined the proceedings, thanked the judge and said “it was an absolute torture for last seven-and-a-half year” and that the order was “a great relief”.

Later he released a statement, saying that the justice has been done, which will allow everyone in the family to mourn Sunanda in peace. “In our justice system, the process is all too often the punishment. Nevertheless, the fact that justice has been done, at last, will allow all of us in the family to mourn Sunanda in peace,” Tharoor said in the statement released on Twitter.

“This brings a significant conclusion to the long nightmare which had enveloped me after the tragic passing of my late wife #Sunanda:” Read Congress leader #ShashiTharoor’s full statement here. pic.twitter.com/bMosatosIb
— The New Indian Express (@NewIndianXpress) August 18, 2021
He said that Wednesday’s order brings a significant conclusion to the “long nightmare which had enveloped me after the tragic passing of my late wife Sunanda”. “I have weathered dozens of unfounded accusations and media vilification patiently, sustained by my faith in the Indian judiciary, which today stands vindicated,” the former Union minister said.

During the arguments, while police had sought framing of various charges, including under Section 306 (abetment of suicide), Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa, appearing for Tharoor, had told the court that the investigation conducted by the SIT completely exonerated the politician of all the charges levelled against him.

Pahwa had sought Tharoor’s discharge in the case, saying there was no evidence against him to prove the offence. He had earlier told the court that the family and friends of Pushkar have maintained that she couldn’t have died by suicide, and there cannot be abetment charge on this ground.

The maximum punishment for the offence is 10 years of imprisonment. Pahwa had earlier claimed that post mortem and other medical reports established that it was neither a suicide nor homicide. After the pronouncement of the order, Pahwa said that the charges levelled by the police for abetment to suicide and cruelty were absurd and preposterous.

He said that even the most essential ingredients of the offences were not present in this case.

All the reports of various medical boards including Psychological Autopsy Reports exonerated Tharoor from the charges of homicide or suicide, he said, adding that the charge sheet was filed without any basis.

Advocate Gaurav Gupta, also representing Tharoor, pointed out that there was no complaint by anyone for harassment or abetment to suicide by any of the family members or friends of Sunanda Pushkar. “I am happy that at last after seven years Justice has prevailed and he has been honourably discharged from all the charges made by Delhi Police against him,” Pahwa said.

Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a luxury hotel in the city on the night of January 17, 2014. The couple was staying in the hotel, as the official bungalow of Tharoor was being renovated at that time. Tharoor was charged under Sections 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) as well as 306 of the Indian Penal Code by Delhi Police, but was not arrested in the case.

Tharoor was granted anticipatory bail in the matter by a Sessions court on July 5, 2018.

Following that order, a magisterial court converted the anticipatory bail into regular bail after he appeared before it on July 7 in pursuance to the summons issued by the Metropolitan Magistrate in the matter.