A Delhi court on Wednesday discharged Congress leader Shashi Tharoor from all charges, including abetm ent to suicide, in connection with the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar in January 2014.
"The accused (Mr Tharoor) is discharged," said Special Judge Geetanjli Goel while asking the MP from Thiruvananthapuram to furnish a requisite bond.
"Most grateful, your honour. It's been seven-and-half years of absolute torture. I really appreciate it," said Mr Tharoor, who was present during the video conferencing hearing, immediately after the pronouncement of the verdict.
Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a suite of a luxury hotel in the city on the night of January 17, 2014.
The Delhi Police’s charge sheet had named Mr. Tharoor as an accused for alleged offences under Sections 498A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 of the Indian Penal Code (abetment of suicide).
Mr. 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.
Earlier, Senior Advocate Vikas Pahwa, appearing for Mr Tharoor, had argued that the investigation conducted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) completely exonerated his client of all the charges levelled against him. The senior advocate had asked to discharge Mr Tharoor in the case as there was no evidence against him to prove the offences of cruelty or abetment of suicide.
Later, Mr. Tharoor issued a statement thanking the judge and his lawyers. "I would like to express my humble thanks to Judge Geetanjali Goel for her orders today, discharging me from the charges levied by the Delhi police, which I have consistently described as preposterous," Mr. Tharoor said.
"This 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.
"In our justice system, the process is all too often the punishment. Nonetheless, the fact that justice has been done, at last, will allow all of us in the family to mourn Sunanda in peace.
"I am grateful to my lawyers, particularly Vikas Pahwa and Gaurav Gupta, for all that they have done to bring the case to this conclusion," he added.