Shashi Tharoor's wife found dead in hotel: reports

Published January 17, 2014
In this photograph taken on March 12, 2012 ex-junior minister for external affairs and Congress Party's Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor (R) with his wife Sunanda Pushkar arrive at parliament. -Photo by AFP
In this photograph taken on March 12, 2012 ex-junior minister for external affairs and Congress Party's Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor (R) with his wife Sunanda Pushkar arrive at parliament. -Photo by AFP

NEW DELHI: The wife of prominent Indian minister Shashi Tharoor was found dead Friday in a five-star hotel room after she exposed his alleged adultery with a Pakistani journalist on Twitter, media reports said.

The Press Trust of India, quoting unnamed police sources, said the minister reported his wife's death to police. It was not immediately known how Sunanda Pushkar had died.

TV footage showed an ambulance with flashing blue lights outside the luxury hotel.

Pushkar's death came a day after Tharoor issued what he called a joint statement from the couple saying they were “happily married and intend to remain that way”.

The statement added that “Sunanda has been ill and hospitalised this week and is seeking to rest” and asked for the media to respect the couple's privacy.

The alleged affair surfaced late Wednesday when a curious series of messages appeared on the Twitter account of the suave thrice-married human resources minister, seen by his two million followers.

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

Tharoor quickly responded by saying his Twitter account had been “hacked,” but wife Sunanda spoke to two newspapers saying that she was the author of the messages.

“Our accounts have not been hacked and I have been sending out these tweets,” Sunanda told the Economic Times, adding to the Indian Express that she “100 per cent” stood by the messages.

The Pakistani journalist strongly denied having an affair with the former high-flying UN diplomat.

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

Opposition parties said the stake, reportedly worth up to $15 million, was for Tharoor's behind-the-scenes services in putting together a consortium that bought a franchise in his home state of Kerala.

Both had denied any wrongdoing

In the statement, Tharoor said the couple were “distressed” by the controversy created by “unauthorised tweets” and denounced “distorted accounts of comments allegedly made by Sunanda in the press.”

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