The police this week revisited the suite at Leela Palace hotel in south Delhi where former Union minister Sashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar was mysteriously found dead on January 17 this year.
Suite number 345, which was kept sealed, had been opened for the first time since the initial police investigation. Police officers privy to the probe told HT that they found some fresh evidence — fluid marks on the bed and the carpet and broken glass.
A Central Forensic Sciences Laboratory (CFSL) team and members of the AIIMS medical board that had conducted Sunanda’s autopsy on Wednesday accompanied the police to the spot.
The investigation of the crime scene took place after the AIIMS medical board in its final opinion reiterated its earlier stand that Sunanda had died of poisoning.
“They found a broken glass from the crime scene besides collecting other evidence from there. The fresh evidence will be examined by the CFSL and its report will be submitted to the police at the earliest,” said a police officer. The police had earlier said there were traces of urine on Sunanda’s bed but had not disclosed anything about traces of fluid on the carpet.
Investigators said that they now believe that Sunanda was ‘probably’ poisoned on the intervening night of January 16 and 17. Prem Nath, deputy commissioner of police (south district) and VKPS Yadav, SHO of the Sarojini Nagar police, accompanied Dr Sudhir Kumar Gupta, head of the department of forensic medicine and toxicology, AIIMS, and CFSL forensic experts to the crime scene.
The decision to “revisit and reinvestigate” the Sunanda Pushkar case came after the Rohini Forensic Sciences Laboratory (FSL) and AIIMS submitted their fresh (second) medical board opinion to the police.
The subsequent findings of the medical board had pointed to the presence of poison in her viscera. The reports said the residue of alprax tablets found in her was non-fatal, ruling out overdose of sleeping pills.
The medical board concluded that Sunanda’s vital organs like kidney, lungs and liver were functioning normally and that her death was caused by poisoning.
The board while submitting its fresh report had suggested that the police had been lax in collecting evidence and that the case should be transferred to the CBI.
Reacting to the medical board’s suggestions, Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi had said the fresh reports submitted to them were “inconclusive”, “muddled” and “based on conjecture”.