File photo of Sunanda Pushkar, who was found dead in a hotel room in New Delhi.(PTI File Photo)
File photo of Sunanda Pushkar, who was found dead in a hotel room in New Delhi.(PTI File Photo)

Delhi high court gives police time to go through Sunanda Pushkar’s tweets

Sunanda Pushkar, 51, was found dead in a hotel room on January 17, 2014 following which the police charged her husband and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor with abetment to suicide, among other charges
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By Richa Banka
UPDATED ON JUL 16, 2020 01:36 AM IST

The Delhi high court on Wednesday gave the police time to go through the Twitter posts of the late Sunanda Pushkar after the city police’s counsel said the department had not seen the tweets nor was it relying on them in the case related to her death.

Pushkar, 51, was found dead in a hotel room on January 17, 2014 following which the police charged her husband and Congress MP Shashi Tharoor with abetment to suicide, among other charges.

Justice Manoj Ohri was told by the Delhi police counsel that her tweets were not a part of the record or the charge sheet filed in the case and if Tharoor wanted to rely on them, they were in the public domain and he can access them.

The court was hearing a plea by Tharoor seeking directions to the Delhi police to preserve the Twitter account and posts on the microblogging site by Pushkar prior to her death.

Appearing for Tharoor, senior advocate Vikas Pahwa submitted that the tweets were part of the electronic record before the trial court in the form of Pushkar’s laptop and mobile phone. He said all the police have to do is put it up as evidence before the court as an indicator of her state of mind prior to her death.

Pahwa also said that Pushkar’s cause of death was “inconclusive” and this was relevant because four autopsy reports and three medical board reports had not been able to confirm till date whether it was a case of suicide or homicide.

Pahwa has said that report was not conclusive on the reason for the death, the police had gone for psychological autopsy in 2017 , a process which involves acertaining the state of mind prior to the death.

He contended that if the police relied on the tweets, the case would be closed.

“Instead, they relied on the witness statements, recorded by the police, who has referred to Pushkar’s tweets while commenting on her state of mind,” he said.

After hearing both sides, the high court gave time to the police to file its submissions along with case law on the issue raised by Tharoor in his plea and listed the matter for hearing on September 18.

Tharoor, in his application, said the tweets and Twitter timeline of Pushkar were of utmost importance in the case and as she was not alive, there was an apprehension that they may be deleted, denying him a crucial right to exonerate himself from the charges levelled against him.

The plea referred to Twitter’s policies as per which it can delete the accounts of users who have been inactive for a prolonged period of time.

The police had earlier told the court that Pushkar was suffering from mental agony because of a strained relationship with her husband. It had then charged Tharoor with domestic violence (498A) and abetment to suicide while claiming that Pushkar had a scuffle with her husband and bore various injury marks a few days before her death.

Tharoor has consistently denied all charges, calling them preposterous and motivated. When asked for his reaction on Wednesday’s hearing, the Congress MP said, “My counsel has already argued for me in the court.”

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