The mysterious death of his wife has again come back to haunt Shashi Tharoor even as the Delhi police charge sheeted Shashi Tharoor under Section 498A and Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. He has been accused of subjecting his wife, Sunanda Pushkar to cruelty and abetment to suicide.
It must be noted that the death of Sunanda Pushkar took place in very suspicious circumstances. She was involved in a spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar over her husband Shashi Tharoor’s alleged extra marital affair with the Pakistani journalist. It has been alleged by many, including senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, that crucial evidence into this case had been destroyed during the UPA regime. Indications of the investigation being botched up first appeared in January 2016, when the then Delhi police commissioner had stated that Sunanda Pushkar might have been poisoned. An AIIMS medical board member had also come to the conclusion that poisoning might have been a possible cause of death. Finally, a special investigation team of the Delhi police conducted a probe into the mysterious death and a chargesheet was filed earlier this month.
Now, it seems that the case is going to move ahead at a better and brisker pace with the metropolitan magistrate Dharmendra Singh transferring the case to the designated special court of Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal. This has been done in consonance with an apex court ruling which requires cases against legislators to be tried by special courts fast-tracking such cases. In November last year, BJP leader and reputed advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay had filed a petition before the Supreme Court seeking special courts to try cases against MPs and MLAs. It also sought a lifelong ban on convicted criminals from forming a political party or becoming political office-bearers. The court had directed the centre to set up special courts in order to fast-track cases pending against legislators. The centre in its affidavit has proposed to set up 12 fast-track courts for this purpose. There are a total of 1,581 criminal cases pending against MPs and MLAs across the country. This proposal has been accepted by the Supreme Court. Therefore, it is now an admitted position that special courts designated for the purpose of fast-tracking criminal cases against legislators are perfectly legal and within the scope of the constitution. Legislators form a different class of citizens among themselves and speedy trial of criminal cases pending against them is in greater public interest so that criminal elements within the legislature are weeded out.
Thereafter, the Delhi high court, by a February 23 order designated two special courts in the Patiala court complex with the object of trying cases against legislators having criminal cases pending against them. These courts are presided over by judges Arvind Kumar and Samar Vishal. Shashi Tharoor is to be tried in one of these two courts.
With this development, it seems that the Sunanda Pushkar case is finally moving in the direction of a reasonable conclusion. It has been almost four years since her death took place and the police started investigation into the case. However, once the charge sheet was filed things started moving pretty quickly. The special court is set to take up the case on May 28 and as per the high court order, the special court will fast-track the case disposing it within one year. Therefore, justice will no longer be denied in this case and we can expect that finally there will be speedy justice in the case. This should also be seen as another victory for Subramanian Swamy who had been pressing for a trial into this case against Shashi Tharoor. When no one was speaking about this case, it was Swamy who pointed out that there was something amiss about Sunanda Pushkar’s death that must be investigated.