Sunanda Pushkar case: Delhi Police quizzed Mehr Tarar in March

  • Karn Pratap Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 19, 2016 07:01 IST
Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar had told HT on phone in September last year that she never met or spoke to Shashi Tharoor's wife Pushkar, who was found dead in a hotel room in 2014. (HT Photo)

Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar was questioned by the Delhi Police four months ago in connection with the mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, few details of which came to light on Monday.

Speaking to Hindustan Times but refusing to divulge any specifics, Tarar said she met Delhi Police officers in March. She, however, clarified that she was not interrogated.

“People are writing and saying anything they want. They do not understand the difference between interrogation, summoning or request,” she said.

Read | Who is Mehr Tarar

Claiming that her name was dragged into the matter for no reason, she said, “People connected me to her (Pushkar’s) death. I was dragged into it only because I had chatted with her on Twitter. I learnt of her tragic death on Twitter. I was in Lahore and not even in India. I don’t want to talk about it. I hope it comes to an end.”

Pushkar was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a luxury Delhi hotel on January 17, 2014. A day before, a Twitter spat occurred between the two women, with Pushkar accusing Tarar of having affair with Tharoor. Pushkar’s suspicions also led to a row between husband and wife.

Confirming that Tarar was questioned, joint commissioner of police (south-east range), RP Upadhyay told HT, “In February, she joined the investigation. However, I am not in a position to comment anything as I’ve not gone through the details of the questioning.”

A police official said Tarar, when asked about her association with Tharoor, denied having a romantic liaison with him.

Sources said the journalist was also asked to explain phone conversations and BBM messages she had exchanged with Tharoor, apart from meeting with him in Dubai, days before Pushkar’s death. Police also tried to ascertain if Tarar was aware of any trouble in the Pushkars’ marriage.

Despite a murder case being registered last year, no development has taken place thus far. As it stands, the commissioner of police, special CP (law and order), two joint CPs (southeastern range), two DCPs, two additional DCPs, the ACP of the Special Task Forces and the first investigating officer, who primarily dealt with the case, moved out in routine transfers.

Read | FBI endorses AIIMS report of poisoning as cause of Sunanda’s death

When asked if the transfers had any impact on the investigation, the joint commissioner of police said, “It’s the officers who have been transferred, not the posts they were holding. The officers who have joined these posts are carrying forward the probe. Whatever needs to be done will be done in the case,” Upadhyay said.

Sources in Delhi Police said there has been no significant development in the case since the last changes took place in the police hierarchy that included the retirement of former police chief, Bhim Sain Bassi.

Tarar had earlier written an email to Bassi, saying she was willing to join the probe. When she came to Delhi in February, she was questioned by a team headed by DCP Premnath in a five star hotel.

Earlier in May, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy had sought home minister Rajnath Singh’s intervention in setting up a court-monitored Special Invetsigation Team to take forward the probe. In a letter to Singh, Swamy was critical of Delhi Police alleging that it was dragging its feet even on elementary steps necessary in criminal investigation when it has been established that poison was found in her body and she died an unnatural death.

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