Thiruvananthapuram: Former union minister Shashi Tharoor yesterday requested the authorities to conduct a “thorough investigation” into the death of his wife Sunanda Pushkar and to conclude the inquiry “rapidly and transparently”.
Tharoor’s statement came as the central government yesterday sought a detailed report from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi on the allegation by a forensic doctor that he was pressurised to manipulate the report of Pushkar’s autopsy.
AIIMS PRO Amit Gupta and Dr Neerja Bhatla refuted the allegations put forward by Dr Sudhir Gupta regarding the post-mortem report of Sunanda Pushkar (left). Pic/PTI
TV channels in Kerala went berserk after the allegations made by AIIMS doctor Sudhir Gupta.
“Upon the tragic loss of my wife Sunanda and from the very beginning, I have requested for a thorough investigation by the authorities to be conducted and concluded rapidly and transparently,” Tharoor said in a statement.
The Pushkar family also took the same view, saying, “We have all fully cooperated with the authorities”.
“I reiterate my request to bring this protracted inquiry to a clear and definitive conclusion at the earliest, so as to put all speculation to rest,” Tharoor said in the statement issued in both English and Malayalam.
Pushkar was found dead in her room at a five-star hotel in Delhi on January 17.
Top officials of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), India’s premier health and research institution, categorically denied the allegations made by forensic department chief Sudhir Gupta.
“The AIIMS administration categorically denies any such allegations. There was no attempt to change the post mortem report,” Neerja Bhatla of the department of obstetrics and gynaecology told reporters.
Media reports said Gupta alleged that he was pressurised by top officials to show Pushkar’s death as “natural” and as he did not bow to pressure and gave a report stating that the former union minister’s wife died due to drug poisoning that could be both suicidal or homicidal, he feared he would be removed.
Gupta in an affidavit before the Central Administrative Tribunal, which settles disputes regarding recruitment and conditions of service of people appointed to public services, two months ago alleged that a decision was taken by AIIMS to promote his junior as the head of department and to remove him.
Gupta feared he was being removed as he gave the “right post-mortem report”, sources said.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan sought a report from the AIIMS director on the issue. “In context of his promotion, Sudhir Gupta had written a letter to the health ministry. It was only after media reports emerged of Sudhir Gupta imposing specific allegations, I have sought a detailed report on it from the AIIMS director,” Harsh Vardhan told the media.
Speaking on the controversy, Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi said Gupta will be examined if necessary and his affidavit brought on record. “If it is necessary to examine Sudhir Gupta, he will be examined and if it is necessary his affidavit, which apparently has been filed by him before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), will also be brought on record,” Bassi told the media. “Whatever is relevant, we will be conducting inquiries keeping in view the legal position of the relevance of the evidence,” he added.