New Delhi: Sunanda Pushkar, wife of former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor died under mysterious circumstances on Jan 17 in a Delhi hotel.
The mystery over Sunanda Pushkar's death has got a dramatic new twist.
While the case remains hazy with no clear indication as to how former Union minister Shashi Tharoor's wife died in a Delhi five-star hotel early this year, a top doctor of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences has stirred the hornet's nest by claiming that he was pressured into giving a tailor-made report in the death case.
Sunanda Pushkar was a celebrity in her own right.
After her relationship with Shashi Tharoor caught media headlines, Sunanda became a household name.
But it’s not that Sunanda had got things on platter all the time. A modern lady with a resolve to rub shoulders with men in a male dominated society stood her apart from other women of this era.
She was first married to Sanjay Raina, a Kashmiri. After divorcing Sanjay Raina, she married Sujith Menon, a business man from Kerala.
She had a 19-year old son from her second marriage. Her son’s name is Shiv Menon. Sujit Menon died in an accident.
Shashi Tharoor was her third husband. Even for Shashi Tharoor, it was third marriage. His first wife was Tilottama Mukherji.
After divorcing Tilottama, he married Christa Giles. He divorced Christa Giles before marrying Sunanda Pushkar.
Sunanda belonged to Sopore, Kashmir and came from a family of Army officers. Her father P.N.Dass is a retired army man. Sunanda came from a family of Kashmiri Brahmins.
When militants attacked and destroyed her house in 1990, her family shifted to Jammu.
She had two brothers, one of whom works for a bank; the other is in the Army.
Sunanda was born on 27th June 1962. She was an Indo- Canadian entrepreneur. Sunanda Pushkar was a co-owner of the India- based Rendezvous Sports World.
Sunanda studied in Government College for Women in Srinagar. While she was yet completing her education, she married Sanjay Raina who was a hotel manager and is now pop singer.
Her marriage with him did not work out so they decided on a mutual divorce. In 1991 she married Sujith Menon. A year later Sujith met with an accident and died.
Sunanda was completely broken after his death. She gave birth to his son in November 1992, i.e. few months after his death.
It is said that Sujith was facing severe financial crisis before his death. He had taken credit from several people and was unable to repay.
After his death, his creditors started harassing Sunanda by giving her threat calls. For a few months, she left her four-year old son with her parents.
By the time she brought him back to Dubai, he had developed a communication disorder.
Therefore Sunanda decided to spend more time with him. She struggled as an event manager.
During this period Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor suffered from financial crisis as she had to support her family, pay off her husband’s debts and had to cater to her son.
She shifted to Canada as it had excellent medical facility. Her son needed speech therapy. She hoped that her earnings would increase there too and that she would have better future prospects.
Sunanda had to keep shuffling jobs and struggle for her living. She moved back to Dubai on a Canadian passport in 2004.
She began working with TECOM investments to work on the International Media Production Zone.
Through this she was able to generate decent income and thus became financially stable.
In 2009, Sunanda met Shashi Tharoor at a party organized by Sunny Varkey, a billionaire in Dubai. Sunanda and Shashi’s friendship blossomed into deep affection.
Finally they decided to marry. Shashi Tharoor at that point of time was already married to a Canadian lady named Christa Giles.
So after their divorce had been finalized, Sunanda and Shashi married in a typically Malayali way in Kerala.
Shashi Tharoor and Sunanda were always seen together. Shashi attended all parties and events along with his beloved wife.
This beautiful couple always managed to keep the media hooked to them.
Sunanda had a style of her own.
She was no less than a gorgeous star. The elegant Shashi was always a step behind Sunanda when it came to style and elegance.
Everything seemed to perfect in their life. It came as an utter shock when one day Sunanda brought up an issue of her husband having an affair with a Pakistani journalist.
This came under media speculation when Sunanda Pushkar indicted Mehr Tarar, a Pakistani journalist of stalking her husband.
On 15th January 2014, a series of messages were posted on Tharoor’s twitter account.
Those messages proclaimed love for Tharoor. According to Sunanda they had been posted by Mehr.
She accused the later of being an ISI agent. The following day the couple published a joint statement through Shashi’s Facebook account.
The statement said that they were happily married and that some personal comments had been misrepresented after being posted on Twitter.
The statement said that they intended to remain the way they were. It added that Sunanda had taken ill and has been hospitalized.
On the same day, Sunanda checked into Leela Palace hotel in Delhi.
The next day – 17th January 2014, Shashi returned from a Congress meeting only to find her dead on the bed of their hotel suite.
Shashi immediately called for help and Sunanda was rushed to the hospital. Her mysterious death brought about several questions and theories. Initially it was suspected that she had committed suicide.
But her unnatural death gave birth to theories of a planned murder.
Her body had several injuries. She had also consumed an over dose of sedatives, strong medicines and alcohol. She was cremated in Delhi.
Since it was a public knowledge that Shashi and Sunanda were not getting along well, police called in Shashi for investigation.
Shashi cooperated in everyway. The BJP seized their opportunity to attack Shashi Tharoor on Sunanda’s mysterious death.
But when Sunanda’s son was asked to give his opinion of him, he refuted all allegations.
Sunanda’s son from her second marriage, Shiv Menon issued a statement, denying any possible role of Shashi Tharoor in his mother’s death.
“Do not believe that Shashi was capable of harming her let alone the speculation that he could have taken her life.”
“Shashi Tharoor would never physically abuse my mother. Though there were differences between them they were deeply in love with each other,” he added.
Shiv rubbished any foul play in her death attributing it to “an unfortunate combination of media stress, tensions and a wrong mix of different medications.”
When politicians like Subramanium Swamy taunted Shashi Tharoor indirectly, he reacted instinctively.
Swamy tweeted “from belly upwards Sunanda had horrific injuries. Her nostrils were squeezed to open her mouth to administer Russian poison. ”
Shashi demanded him to prove his accusations. He, Sunanda’s son and father pleaded with the media to allow them to mourn for her in peace.
Recalling the tragedy, Shashi Tharoor said that life without Sunanda was painful for him. “”I broke down when all this happened.
She was a lovely human being. I miss her everyday. I know what it is to switch off the light all alone in my room knowing she is no more there,” said Shashi Tharoor.
Sunada’s friends remember her as a bold girl with no reticence. She could speak her heart out on any issue. Things that girls are normally shy about or refrain from commenting on, Sunanda would speak boldly.
Sunanda Pushkar was a Kashmiri village girl who made it big in life through resilience and hard work. She was a woman who exuded charm, boldness and she was no stranger to adversity. Her beauty had the allure of a star.
She adored her husband and was an extremely caring mother. Sunanda had a huge friend’s circle that doted on her. Even her friends admired her match with Shashi Tharoor. Her death still remains a mystery.
Sunanda Pushkar and Shashi Tharoor at a party
The beautiful Tharoor couple posing for photograph
Shashi Tharoor putting tilak on Sunanda's forehead
Shashi and Sunanda at a party
Tharoor couple in a relaxed mood
Shashi Tharoor and Sunanda sharing romantic moments. Shashi never attended any function or party alone. He was always in the company of his beloved Sunanda
Tharoor couple at a party
Gorgeous looking Sunanda with Shashi Tharoor
Sunanda showing her affection for Shashi Tharoor
Tharoor during a Puja ceremony
Tharoor couple attending a function
A gorgeous looking Sunanda with Shashi Tharoor
Tharoor couple at a function
Shashi and Sunanda during wedding ceremony
Tharoor couple attending a function
Tharoor couple in a happy mood
Tharoor couple in front of Sai baba photograph
Shashi and Sunanda enjoying the company of commoners