Sunanda Pushkar death: Shashi Tharoor questioned over IPL angle

Delhi Police on Thursday questioned Congress MP Shashi Tharoor over the ownership of Kochi Tuskers, a defunct IPL franchisee, to find out if his murdered wife Sunanda Pushkar received equity on his behalf from the franchisee

New Delhi: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor was on Thursday questioned by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) for the second time in the last four weeks over the IPL controversy and also various other aspects leading to the mysterious death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar.

Tharoor along with five people including his domestic help Narayan Singh and driver Bajrangi were called by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) for questioning at its Anti Auto Theft Squad (AATS) office in south Delhi's Vasant Vihar.

Tharoor's questioning began at 11.30 a.m. and continued for four-and-a-half hours. He first went to the Sarojini Nagar police station in south Delhi and was taken to the Vasant Vihar police station.

Shashi Tharoor

Sources said that Tharoor faced tough questions on the IPL controversy which had broken out in early 2010 when he was minister of state for external affairs. There were allegations that he had "misused" his office to ensure that Rs 70 crore, which was equivalent to 19 per cent equity in IPL Kochi franchise Rendezvous Sports, was paid to Sunanda, charges flatly denied by him.

Tharoor first reached Sarojini Nagar police station and however, was later taken to the office of AATS in Vasant Vihar in south Delhi around 11.30 AM where he was questioned by a five-member SIT team. Delhi Police had earlier examined the former minister on January 19.

Tharoor, who is the Lok Sabha member from Thiruvananthapuram, was asked questions over the ownership pattern of Kochi Tuskers to find out if Sunanda Pushkar was the front for him when she received Rs.75 crore equity of the Kochi team.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Mangesh Kashyap from the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) was also part of the probe team.

Sources in the police said the SIT team also questioned Sanjay Diwan, a common friend of both Tharoor and Sunanda, Rajat Mohan (cardio of Ganga Ram Hospital), Tharoor's domestic help Narayan Singh and his PA Praveen Kumar.

The SIT comprising Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Prem Nath, Additional DCP P S Kushwaha and three senior officers asked Tharoor about his relations with Sunanda. DCP Mangesh Kashyap from the Economic Offences Wing (EOW), who was also part of the team, also asked some questions to Tharoor about the now defunct IPL Kochi franchise.

He was questioned about the circumstances in which Sunanda had left him at the airport after returning from Thiruvananthapuram to Delhi on January 15 and checked in at Leela Hotel, the sources said.

The police team probing the case has so far questioned at least 15 people. Tharoor, his staff members and close friends were among those quizzed by Delhi Police.

Pushkar's son Shiv Menon was also quizzed by the SIT on February 5. Police sources had said that Menon was asked about the relationship between Tharoor and Sunanda. Sources said that during the questioning of Menon, some new inputs emerged and Tharoor's response on them were required for the ongoing probe.

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner B S Bassi said that SIT has questioned almost all persons, who were required to be quizzed, in the case and if there is need, police will also question some more persons. "Our aim is to verify the fact to establish the truth," Bassi told reporters here.

Police sources said Pushkar's viscera report has been sent to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) lab in the United States.

The SIT probing the case has so far questioned at least 15 people, including Tharoor, his staff members, close friends of the couple and the staff of Leela Palace hotel where Pushkar was found dead.

Pushkar's son Shiv Menon was quizzed by the SIT Feb 5 for around eight hours. Police sources said Menon was asked about the state of relations between Tharoor and Pushkar.

Former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh was also questioned by SIT Jan 28 in the case.

Two journalists - Nalini Singh and Rahul Kanwal - have already deposed before the SIT.

52-year-old Sunanda was found dead in her suite at a five star hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014, a day after she was involved in a spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar on micro-blogging website twitter over the latter's alleged affair with Tharoor.

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