FBI report rules out radioactive angle in Sunanda Pushkar's death

Viscera samples were sent to US after AIIMS doctors had said that Indian labs lacked facility to identify the poison which caused her death.

November 11, 2015 03:19 am | Updated November 17, 2021 03:14 am IST - New Delhi

Sunanda Pushkar died under mysterious circumstances in a Delhi hotel in January last year.

Sunanda Pushkar died under mysterious circumstances in a Delhi hotel in January last year.

Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi on Wednesday said that the U.S.’s Federal Bureau of Investigation’s lab report of Sunanda Pushkar’s viscera samples has ruled out polonium or any other radioactive poisoning as the cause of death.

Radiation levels in the samples were found to be well within the prescribed safety limits, said Mr. Bassi after receiving the FBI lab report.

Asked about the possibility of Ms. Pushkar’s husband and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor being questioned again in connection with her murder case, Mr. Bassi said that if the investigating officer felt the need to do so, it would be done.

Medical board

The samples >were sent to the U.S. after traces of radioactive isotopes were found in her body during the post-mortem examination. On the police’s next move, Mr. Bassi said the reports would be sent to the medical board examining the death.

Asked for his opinion on the latest development, Dr. Sudhir Gupta from the Forensic Department of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences said: “We will be in a position to say anything about the report only after we examine it.”

The FBI lab report, received from the U.S. via email late last month, has put an end to all speculation about polonium poisoning but sources claimed that it also mentioned the name of the poison which caused the death.

The name of the poison would now enable the Special Investigating Team to know how it was procured and administered into Sunanda’s body. Sunanda was >mysteriously found dead inside her suite at Hotel Leela Palace in January 2014. She, along with her husband had checked into the hotel a couple of days earlier. In the days leading up to the death, the couple had arguments and fights over certain unresolved issues. She even had a public spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar days before her death.

The >post-mortem report had hinted at the presence of isotopes in the body but the nature could not be detected at Indian labs forcing the authorities to send the samples abroad nine months ago.

Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said the report would now be sent to forensic experts in the national capital. Only after this, further investigation would be carried out.

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