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Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor Found Dead

Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor, who had been in the news for the last two days, because of a recent controversy on Twitter, was found dead in New Delhi's hotel Leela.

According to Delhi Police sources, her husband Shashi Tharoor informed them of the death.

Shashi Tharoor had claimed on Wednesday, January 15, that his Twitter account was hacked, after some strange tweets were sent from it to Tarar. The tweets had instantly created a buzz on social media websites.

The Indian Express on Thursday quoted Sunanda Pushkar as alleging that her husband was having an “extra-marital affair” with a Pakistan-based journalist and that she would “seek divorce”:

“I completely stand by my tweets, I 100 per cent stand by that,” Sunanda Tharoor later told The Indian Express. “That woman pursued and pursued him…men are stupid anyways…for all you know she is a Pakistani agent. Where’s love, where’s loyalty in this world…I am so distraught.”

Sunanda Tharoor said she felt “destroyed as a wife and a woman” over her husband’s “rip-roaring affair” with the Pakistani journalist which she claimed had been going on since April last year.

Sunanda Tharoor also claimed there have been a series of Blackberry Messenger exchanges between her husband and the Pakistani journalist in which, among other things, the possibilities of his divorce with her have also been discussed.

Asked what her next move would be, Sunanda Tharoor said she would seek a divorce from Shashi Tharoor. The Congress minister of state for human resource development and MP from Thiruvananthapuram married the Dubai-based entrepreneur in August 2010

Sunanda Pushkar later added fuel to the fire with her reported disclosure that Shashi Tharoor's account was not hacked, as claimed by him, and that it was she who had sent out the controversial tweets disowned by him. In a statement to the Economic Times, she accepted that she had sent out tweets from Shashi Tharoor's twitter handle.

"Our accounts have not been hacked and I have been sending out these tweets. I cannot tolerate this. This is a Pakistani woman who is an ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) agent, and she is stalking my husband. And you know how men are. He is flattered by the attention. I took upon myself the crimes of this man during IPL (Indian Premier League). I will not allow this to be done to me. I just can't tolerate this. I have nothing more to say."

Tarar, however, dismissed the allegations as untrue and said she was totally amused. She said Sunanda has gone out of her mind.

Subsequently a joint statement was put out on Shashu Tharoor's Facebook account in his and his wife's name yesterday: 

We are distressed by the unseemly controversy that has arisen about some unauthorised tweets from our Twitter accounts.

Various distorted accounts of comments allegedly made by Sunanda have appeared in the press.  It appears that some personal and private comments responding to these unauthorised tweets -- comments that were not intended for publication -- have been misrepresented and led to some erroneous conclusions.

We wish to stress that we are happily married and intend to remain that way. Sunanda has been ill and hospitalised this week and is seeking to rest. We would be grateful if the media respects our privacy... 

The couple had got married in August 2010.

And then, came the news today. Apparently Mr Tharoor reached the hotel room after attending the AICC sessions today and found her dead.

Read more about the cicumstances of her death here


18 Jan 2014, 11:10:47 PM | Buzz

The Economic Times article had quoted Sunanda Pushkar in its January 16 article as telling them:

"I took upon myself the crimes of this man during IPL (Indian Premier League).

The ET had recalled the IPL controversy surrounding the Tharoors:

Tharoor resigned in 2010 as junior minister for external affairs after Indian Premier League's then chairman Lalit Modi alleged that Tharoor's friend Sunanda Pushkar had been gifted sweat equity in a consortium that was bidding to become the Kerala team in the twenty-over Cricket tournament. Tharoor said at the time that his support to the consortium bidding for the Kochi franchise was purely as a mentor and he did not benefit from it financially. Tharoor and Pushkar married subsequently.

Now Caravan journalist Rahul Bhatia, writin for the Quartz says Indian media failed Sunanda Pushkar, and now she’s dead:

Shortly after the Economic Times piece, the news channel NDTV got Pushkar on the phone for an interview. They didn’t ask her about the “crimes of this man.” At one point during the live phone conversation, when Pushkar said she regretted choosing silence during the cricket controversy, the interviewer changed the subject, “Ma’am, you do realize you’re live on NDTV? Also, aren’t you worried the BJP [the party in opposition] will take up this issue?” The channel’s concern for the minister’s career, not the details of Pushkar’s revelation, was dismaying.


There are plenty of other examples of journalists who shirked their duties. In the minutes after Pushkar’s death became public knowledge, Barkha Dutt, NDTV’s group editor, said that Pushkar had told spoken with her on 1/15 about issues including Tarar and the cricket league. (“…not really private [conversation] actually, as [Pushkar] repeated verbatim to Express, Economic Times,” Dutt tweeted.

Dutt said she advised Pushkar to speak with a confidante instead. A celebrated journalist known for intrusive reporting at the scene of major incidents, Dutt took the editorial judgment to ignore Pushkar’s frank revelations about a sitting union minister.

19 Jan 2014, 01:34:58 AM | Buzz

The Mumbai Mirror innocently asks: Sonia visiting Tharoor a warning against media witch hunt?

Sonia's visit to Tharoor's home is bound to act as a warning against any possible witch hunt that could be launched against him by the media, especially after the ugly spat on Twitter between his wife and Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar, sources said. It was certainly a bold move on the part of the Congress chief, party leaders felt.


18 Jan 2014, 11:34:58 PM | Buzz

Now senior journalist Nandini Singh tells the Hindstan Times that Sunanda Pushkar called her minutes into Friday -– some 20 hours before she was found dead in a luxury hotel room in Delhi:

"It was not a short call. I saw her name on the phone and said, Sunanda, and she broke down. She kept sobbing and crying. She was clearly in an emotional storm and it was entirely to do with Tarar. Sunanda had been badly hit by reports of Tarar's relationship with Shashi Tharoor" Singh said.

Singh told HT that she would be writing a letter to the assistant commissioner of police in charge of the investigation, telling him that she wanted to reveal the contents of her conversation with Sunanda. Asked if Sunanda was referring to divorce proceedings when she told Nalini about her plan to do something, Singh said it was something else and that she wanted to first reveal it to the police.

"That there were ups and downs between Shashi and Sunanda is well-known. The Tarar episode wasn't of yesterday's origin and she was hit badly and she was hurting," Singh said.

When asked if Sunanda sounded suicidal or mentioned suicide, Singh said, "I am not a trained psychiatrist or psychologist but I did not get the sense that she would take her life." Sunanda, Singh said, was not with her husband when she called her.

18 Jan 2014, 06:34:58 PM | Buzz

Malavika Sangghvi in the Mid-Day:

Delhi-based friends of the couple have been alluding to powerful third parties who have come between the two for many months now. These involve names so sensitive and people so high up in the national firmament that even we so accustomed to hearing about the escapades of the high and mighty, thought it best to ignore what could be the biggest scandal of all time, until it was confirmed.

But now that the flood gates have opened, how long before stories surface that will make the Mehr Tarar episode appear like a teddy-bear’s picnic?

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