Tharoor for swift inquiry into Pushkar's death

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Shashi Tharoor urges swift inquiry into wife's death

Indian minister Shashi Tharoor, whose wife was found dead in a luxury hotel room, called on Sunday for a swift inquiry so the truth "can come out as soon as possible", an official said.

Tharoor wrote to the home minister on Sunday saying "he was horrified to read the reckless speculation" about his wife's death, which came after she exposed his alleged adultery with a Pakistani journalist on Twitter.

Tharoor, a former high-flying UN diplomat, pledged his "full and unstinting cooperation" with investigations into what doctors have described as his wife's "unnatural, sudden death" on Friday evening.

"Mr. Tharoor has requested the home minister to expedite the inquiry so that the truth behind his wife's death can come out as soon as possible," Tharoor's private secretary Abhinav Kumar told AFP.

"He is in a state of shock. He is anxious and keen to know the truth... what happened that day, no one can say."

Tharoor, 57, the junior human resources development minister, found his wife Sunanda Pushkar dead in her five-star hotel room in New Delhi after he returned from a party meeting.

The death was a tragic twist in a tale of apparent marital strife that has played out in full view of the public in India's newspapers and on social media.

Pushkar, 52, died an "unnatural, sudden death", said doctors who performed an autopsy on Saturday, adding that more tests were needed to determine the exact cause.

Newspapers have devoted pages of coverage including speculation on whether she committed suicide as well as the state of their marriage.

In his letter, Tharoor said: "In the midst of my mourning, I have finally had a chance to catch up with the media reports and am horrified to read the reckless speculation rampant there.

"I pledge full and unstinting cooperation," said the letter quoted by the Press Trust of India news agency.

"Nothing short of the truth will end the indignity to which my wife and I are being subject at a time when all I seek is to be allowed to grieve in private with her and my near and dear ones."

Ashes to be scatteredA magistrate charged with investigating Pushkar's death is expected to record Tharoor's statement after he scatters his wife's ashes on Monday, Kumar told AFP.

Tharoor will travel to the holy town of Haridwar for the ceremony after her body was cremated according to Hindu rites on Saturday, Kumar said.

The final autopsy report was expected to be handed to authorities on Monday.

Events began unfolding Wednesday when curious messages appeared on the Twitter account of the thrice-married Tharoor, who is also a novelist and government spokesman and a prolific tweeter.

They showed private exchanges purportedly between the 57-year-old minister (@shashitharoor) and Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar (@mehrtarar), in which she professed her love for him and he said his wife had discovered their relationship.

Tharoor quickly responded by saying his Twitter account had been hacked, but Pushkar told two newspapers that she was the author of the messages.

Seeking to draw a line under the Twitter row, Tharoor issued a statement Thursday in which he blamed unauthorised tweets and distorted media reports for the "unseemly controversy".

The statement said the couple were "happily married".
The Pakistani journalist whom Pushkar accused of "stalking" her husband strongly denied having a relationship with the former UN diplomat.

Reacting to Pushkar's death, Tarar tweeted that she was "absolutely shocked. This is too awful for words."

Pushkar, who had been suffering from tuberculosis, went on television on Thursday, appearing confused and apparently unaware she was talking live.

An anchor on the CNN-IBN channel, Sagarika Ghose, said Friday she had spoken privately to her earlier in the day and she appeared depressed and was sobbing uncontrollably.

Tharoor is a suave former diplomat who spent three decades in the United Nations but was beaten to the post of secretary general by Ban Ki-moon.

The author and talented public speaker quit the UN after his defeat and entered Indian politics in 2008 as a ruling party MP from a safe seat in the southern state of Kerala.

Tharoor had to resign from his first ministerial post in 2010 after revelations that then-girlfriend Pushkar had been given a free stake in a new Indian Premier League cricket team.

EARLIER REPORT

The wife of Indian minister Shashi Tharoor, found dead in a luxury hotel after accusing her husband of being unfaithful, suffered an "unnatural, sudden death", a doctor who performed an autopsy on her body said Saturday.

"More tests" are needed to determine the cause of Sunanda Pushkar's death and the final results will not be known for two to three days, Sudhir Gupta, one of three doctors who performed the autopsy, told reporters.

He added Pushkar's body had "some physical injuries", but it was unclear whether they were related to her death.

Her body cremated today with Tharoor and relatives present.

Sunanda Pushkar cremated in Delhi... Click here

Tharoor found his wife dead in a luxury hotel room Friday, just two days after she accused him on Twitter and in other media of having an affair with a Pakistani journalist, Mehr Tarar.

"There were no signs of any foul play," Tharoor's press assistant Abhinav Kumar told reporters. "She seemed to be sleeping in a normal way but later it was found she was dead."

Tharoor was admitted Saturday to the same top government hospital where the autopsy was performed on his wife's body after complaining of "general chest discomfort", a hospital spokeswoman told reporters.

But his test results were normal and he was released. TV footage showed him leaving the hospital looking ashen.

Pushkar, 52, a Dubai-based entrepreneur before marrying Tharoor in 2010, had been taking medications for various illnesses, including tuberculosis, according to local media.

In one of her last tweets, which later appeared to have been removed, she wrote: "Whatever is destined to happen will happen, will go smiling".
Indian social media users called it the first "death by Twitter", with the drama being played out over the micro-blogging site.

Click to see: Shashi Tharoor, Sunanda Pushkar's wedding album

The death of Pushkar, described by friends as the "life of any party", sent shockwaves through New Delhi's social set.
The couple appeared deeply in love when they wed and were a glamorous pair on the social scene, but the rumour mill had been abuzz for months with talk of marital problems.

Indian newspapers splashed the death on their front pages. "Soon after Twitter war, Sunanda Pushkar found dead in Delhi hotel," said the tabloid Mail Today in a headline.

Events began unfolding late Wednesday when a curious messages appeared on the Twitter account of the suave thrice-married Tharoor, a former high-flying UN diplomat, novelist and key government spokesman.

They showed private exchanges purportedly between the 57-year-old minister (@shashitharoor) and Pakistani journalist Tarar (@mehrtarar), in which she professed her love for him and he said his wife had discovered their relationship.

Tharoor, known as "Mr Twitter" with over two million followers, quickly responded by saying his account was "hacked", but Pushkar spoke to newspapers saying she sent the messages.

She also raked up a corruption scandal related to the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament that almost wrecked Tharoor's career in 2010 and led him to resign from the cabinet.

Both Pushkar and Tharoor had denied any wrongdoing. Seeking to draw a line under the Twitter row, Tharoor issued a joint statement Thursday in which he blamed unauthorised tweets and distorted media reports for the "unseemly controversy".

The statement said the couple were "happily married". Cricket-loving Tharoor and his wife, the mother of an adult son from a former marriage, had been staying at the hotel since Thursday while work was being done to their home.

Television anchor Sagarika Ghose said she spoke to Pushkar on Friday, saying she appeared depressed and was sobbing uncontrollably.
The Pakistani journalist whom Pushkar accused of "stalking" her husband strongly denied having a relationship with the former UN diplomat.

Reacting to Pushkar's death, Tarar tweeted: "I'm absolutely shocked. This is too awful for words. So tragic I don't know what to say. Rest in peace, Sunanda."

Tharoor, a thrice-married father of grown sons, spent three decades in the UN where he was beaten to the post of secretary general by Ban Ki-moon.

The author then quit the UN and entered Indian politics in 2008 as a ruling Congress party MP.

Tharoor's son, Ishaan, a journalist at Time magazine, requested "that everyone please respect our family's privacy".

Click to read:

Angry wife outs Indian minister's 'affair' on Twitter

 

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