“Prima facie it appears to be a case of natural death”

Family sources told The Hindu that Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, was deeply stressed for the past several days after she dramatically tweeted messages suggesting a romantic relationship between her husband and Pakistani journalist Mehr 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 personal phone.

Ms. Tarar, speaking to The Hindu on Thursday, denied any romantic involvement with Mr. Tharoor, saying she met the Minister just twice, first in April last year in New Delhi and then in June in Dubai.

She travelled again to New Delhi in December, to interview Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, but had not met Mr. Tharoor as he was travelling at that time, she said.

Both women engaged in personal attacks against each other over Twitter, fuelling further controversy.

Dr. Tharoor later said in a statement issued on Thursday that Ms. Pushkar “has been ill and hospitalised this week and is seeking to rest. We would be grateful if the media respects our privacy”.

Mr. Tharoor’s staff and close friends told journalists on Friday that the couple was on a visit to Thiruvananthapuram from where the two returned to the Capital a couple of days ago.

“She was under medication for some respiratory disorder and was being treated at the Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences. Her blood samples were recently sent to Germany for advance tests, and the results are expected on January 20. “Prima facie it appears to be a case of natural death,” a family friend said, adding that there were no signs of struggle, forced entry or any visible injury on Ms. Pushkar’s body.

Ms. Pushkar had been in the news recently for a range of reasons, ranging from controversies surrounding her stake in a Kochi cricket team, to threatening to hurl drinks at a Dubai photographer just after the New Year.

She had also hurled personal allegations at BJP politician Subramaniam Swamy in a Twitter exchange last year.

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