Delhi hotel wants to de-seal suite where Sunanda Pushkar was found dead; court asks police to reply
Suite number 345 in Hotel Leela Palace, where Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead, has been closed since 2014. The hotel has now filed a plea to de-seal the room citing loss of revenue.delhi Updated: May 18, 2017 14:14 IST
A Delhi court has sought the reply of Delhi Police on how much time would it require to de-seal the suite in Hotel Leela Palace where former Union minister Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in January 2014.
The court’s response came after the hotel moved a plea in the court seeking de-sealing of suite number 345 as no investigating agency has visited it for the past one year and closing the room for the last three years has caused great loss to it.
Metropolitan Magistrate Pankaj Sharma has directed the Station House Officer (SHO) of Sarojini Nagar police station to file a report by coordinating with the forensic team as to how much time and visits they need for taking the final view of the suite for concluding their investigation.
The court fixed the next date of hearing on July 14, 2017.
The hotel said in its plea that it has on previous occasions approached the Delhi Police for their assistance in de-sealing the suite. However, its efforts have been in vain.
“The investigating agency involved, including multiple forensic teams, have visited the suite and collected requisite samples on numerous occasions. But it is pertinent to note that since one year, no investigating agency has visited the suite and therefore the suite is not required to be kept sealed any longer,” the hotel said in its application.
It was further claimed that there are 17 suites in the entire hotel. The cost of these suites ranges from Rs55,000 to Rs61,000 per night, depending on the season. But the hotel’s inability to offer the suite number 345 to its patrons in the last 3 years has incurred a loss of approximately Rs 50 lakhs.
However, police told the court that the suite may be required for further examination.
Pushkar was found dead at the five-star hotel located in south Delhi’s Chanakyapuri on January 17, 2014, after which the suite was sealed. This was a day after she had a spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar on Twitter involving Tharoor.
Pushkar’s viscera samples were sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) lab in Washington DC to determine the kind of poison that killed her after an AIIMS medical board identified poisoning as the reason behind her death but did not mention any specific substance.
The FBI report had virtually ruled out the theory of ‘polonium poisoning’ as a cause for her death. However, after Delhi police failed to draw any conclusion on basis of the findings, the report was handed over to a medical board for examination before further proceedings in the high-profile case.
The investigators have so far conducted polygraph test on six persons, all prime witnesses in the case. Tharoor has also been questioned.
First Published: May 18, 2017 13:10 IST