Court asks ‘lethargic’ Delhi police to de-seal room where Sunanda Pushkar died

The Delhi court has given police four weeks to de-seal the Leela Palace room. The court told the police that the hotel could not be made to suffer endlessly.

delhi Updated: Jul 22, 2017 00:01 IST
Snehal Tripathi
Snehal Tripathi
Hindustan Times
Delhi news,Delhi police,Leela Palace
The city court has given police time of four weeks to de-seal the room. (HT FILE)

A Delhi court on Friday ordered police to de-seal suite number 345 of hotel Leela Palace where Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Congress leader and former Union minister Shashi Tharoor, was found dead three years ago. The city court has given police the time of four weeks to de-seal the room.

The hotel management had approached the court with a plea that the hotel was incurring losses because the suite, with a tariff of at least Rs 61,000 a night, had been locked since January 2014. The hotel said they have only 17 such suites and the losses had mounted up to Rs 50 lakh. The hotel told a court that they are willing to hand over the case property from the room as termites and insects were affecting the others suites too.

Read: HC seeks Delhi police report on Sunanda Pushkar’s death

On Friday, the court said that the hotel cannot be put through unending hardship due to the lethargy of the investigating agency.

Delhi police had earlier told the court that they could not de-seal the room as they are still investigating the case. The police team probing the case has come under criticism for their handling of the case. Though senior police officials, including the then joint commissioner of police Vivek Gogia and DCP BS Jaiswal had inspected the room, they failed to mention crucial details such as the presence of broken glasses.

Anti-depressant Alprax tablets were also found two days after the senior police officers inspected the room. Though police believed poisoning could also be one of the reasons for Pushkar’s death, the food samples were collected only after 11 months. A vigilance inquiry against the police team that investigated the case has also been ordered.

Conspiracy theories abound: A timeline of Sunanda Pushkar murder case

The Delhi police on August 1 will submit a status report before the high court in the case. Police will file the status report in response to the plea of former MP Rajya Sabha MP, who accused police of scuttling investigation and quoted the many discrepancies in the case.

First Published: Jul 21, 2017 17:31 IST