Delhi sub-divisional magistrate Alok Sharma’s inquest attempts to piece together the dramatic events of the last 48 hours of Sunanda Pushkar’s life to see if any criminal wrong occurred, sources in the investigation told The Hindu.
Police sources said Ms. Pushkar had called the Leela Palace hotel in Delhi’s diplomatic enclave, Chanakyapuri, late Wednesday night to make a reservation, following her release of messages purportedly suggesting a romantic relationship between Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar and her husband Sashi Tharoor.
Dr. Tharoor, said the sources, also arrived in the hotel later that night. In a statement released to media the same night, he said the couple were “happily married”.
The Minister’s personal assistant Anubhav Kumar, an IPS officer, told journalists that the couple had moved to Leela because of fumigation work at their home. Domestic staff The Hindu spoke to late Friday night, though, said there was no work under way there.
Ms. Pushkar had spoken of marital troubles and appeared under stress to several individuals she met on Wednesday. “I’d sent Ms. Pushkar a text message on Wednesday night saying someone had told me her Twitter account had been hacked,” said Barkha Dutt, Managing Editor of the television station NDTV.
“Ms. Pushkar contacted me later that night, saying she was going through marital troubles and was considering a divorce,” Ms. Dutt said. “She sounded very, very upset.”
Police sources said the sub-divisional magistrate would record statements from witnesses who say Ms. Pushkar and Dr. Tharoor had a furious argument on a Delhi-bound flight from Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday morning. Hotel staff have also told authorities the couple had further arguments at the Leela hotel, after the release of Ms. Pushkar’s tweets.
Mr. Tharoor’s cellphones — the source of the tweets sent out by Ms. Pushkar — were also likely to be summoned as evidence, said the sources.
The Minister, police said, discovered his wife’s body around 8.30 p.m., when he entered the bedroom of their hotel suite. He told investigators that he initially thought she was asleep. The matter was reported to the police around 9 p.m., after the hotel called in a doctor who confirmed Ms. Pushkar had died.
Ms. Pushkar had, on Wednesday, tweeted communications she said had been sent to Dr. Tharoor by Ms. Tarar. “I love you, Shashi Tharoor,” one purported message from Ms. Tarar to Mr. Tharoor read. The Minister later said the tweets, which emanated from his account, were the work of a hacker. However, Ms. Pushkar said she had found the message on her husband’s phone.