Sunanda Pushkar case: Her last tumultuous hours

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NEW DELHI: A day before her mysterious death in a room at Hotel Leela Palace on January 17, 2014, Sunanda Pushkar had an open confrontation on Twitter with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar which was widely reported. She was bristling over Tarar’s alleged attempts to get romantically involved with her husband, Sashi Tharoor, a fact denied by both. But it was evident that Sunanda was hugely disturbed. Within 24 hours, she would be dead.

From the statements of Tharoor and the hotel authorities, who were questioned between January 17 and 20, the cops established that Pushkar had checked into the hotel in Chanakyapuri alone on January 15. She and Tharoor had been together on a flight to Delhi. They had an argument at the airport and on the flight which was witnessed by minister of information and broadcasting Manish Tewari.

Pushkar, who was reportedly undergoing medical treatment, had checked into a room on the third floor. The hotel staff reportedly told the police that she was under depression and hardly ate anything during her stay. According to sources, Tharoor checked into the hotel a day later and the couple shifted to suite number 345. On the intervening night of January 16 and 17, the two had a long fight once again. Pushkar went to sleep around 6.30am on January 17. She did not order any food that day.

Around 7am, Tharoor left for an AICC meet at Talkatora Stadium. Attendant Narain Swami told the police that he was there throughout January 17 and had last seen her in the afternoon. He returned around 6.30pm. Sunanda’s room was shut ? it was a suite with an attached drawing room ? but not latched. When Narain asked Tharoor if he should wake “madam” up, he reportedly said, “let her sleep. She has been awake all night,” said a source.

Tharoor had coffee after returning and freshened up as he had to step out. Before stepping out, he decided to check on her.

He too went inside and called out to her but got no response. She was lying on the bed with a quilt over her and showed no signs of life.

Soon, Tharoor informed his personal secretary, Abhinav Kumar, who called the police. Tharoor is believed to have informed the hotel authorities. The police said they were told around 8.30pm.

Since then the death has remained controversial with political leaders like Subramanian Swamy often raising questions.

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