Clueless police went around in circles

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 07, 2015 01:07 IST

The dramatic twist to the Sunanda Pushkar’s death case on Tuesday has prompted many to ask what took the police an year to file an FIR in the case.

The police registered a case after the AIIMS medical board in its report declared that Sunanda’s death was “unnatural”. Sunanda, wife of Congress MP and then union minister Shashi Tharoor, was found dead at a city hotel on January 17, 2014.

Controversy has surrounded her death with several conspiracy theories doing the rounds fanned by the inconclusive first autopsy report. The police first said it was an accidental overdose of medicines, then suicide and now the police have formally registered a case of murder.

The case had seen several twists and turns in the past one year with Delhi Police transferring the case to the crime branch and just hours later transferring it back to the local police. The police’s allegedly inept handling of the crime scene, with obvious unanswered questions, further muddied the waters.

The police had initially said that anti-depressant Alprax tablets were found from Sunanda’s room but then the medical board pointed out that no Alprazolam was found in her body. The police failed to take note of the fact that several articles such as her clothes, shoes/sleepers and bag were not found on the crime scene.

Opposition leaders took the opportunity to accuse the then-UPA government of trying to protect its minister. The plot further thickened after one of the doctors in the three-member medical board alleged that he had been pressured by the government to describe the death as natural.

When asked why it took almost a year for the final medical report to come, Bassi said the interim report spoke of poisoning but did not say it was an unnatural death. “Even overdose (of medicines) can be poisoning.”

Bassi said Delhi Police had sought the final medical report from AIIMS several times. “Now that we have got it, we are registering a FIR,” he said.

Even as a case of murder has been registered against unknown persons, the police were yet to come out with any clues to establish the motive and the poison used in the murder.

Investigating officers said they would now issue notices to all persons connected with the case to join investigation.

Police said they would wait for the reports from labs abroad, on the type of poison and the quantity used in the murder. The laboratories in the country do not have the facility to test particular poisons found in Sunanda’s viscera.

“We are probing the case from all angles. Strips of Alprax tablets were found at the crime scene. But now that the doctors have conclusively rejected the presence of alprazolam in Sunanda’s body, we will probe how they got there,” said a police officer.

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