Delhi HC unhappy over delay in probe into Sunanda Pushkar's death

The court's remarks came after Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain submitted that Delhi Police was not treating BJP MP Subramanian Swamy's plea as an adversarial one.

Published: 30th August 2017 08:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 30th August 2017 08:13 PM   |  A+A-

Congress Party's Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor (R) with his wife Sunanda Pushkar. |File Photo: AFP


NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today expressed unhappiness over the delay in the probe into the death of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar in 2014 and sought to know the status of investigation so far.

A bench of Justices G S Sistani and Chander Shekhar referred to the fact that the incident took place in January 2014 and said more than three-and-half years have elapsed and nothing concrete has emerged so far.

Pushkar was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a suite of a five-star hotel in south Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014.

The court's remarks came after Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain submitted that Delhi Police was not treating BJP MP Subramanian Swamy's plea as an adversarial one and the investigation was being conducted with "utmost diligence".

The ASG also said that the investigation was now at the fag end and a final conclusion will be arrived at soon.

He contended that transfer of investigation at this stage to any other agency would only delay the ongoing probe.

The law officer, representing the police, told the bench that senior police officers were present in the court and were carrying the complete case diary for its perusal.

The bench then observed that it was not fair to "look into or monitor the investigation", but would "certainly like to know where the investigation stands as of today."

"We want to know as to what happened till date. It's almost over three years but nothing concrete has come up as of today," the bench said, adding that "certainly it (the probe) cannot be unending".

It, however, clarified that the monitoring of the probe was not under the domain of the judiciary and the court was not inclined to give any direction to that effect.

The bench stated that they did not to pre-empt the outcome of the probe and thus could not comment as to whether either a charge sheet or the closure report would be filed.

"We are only concerned about the substantial time taken in concluding the investigation and thus, concerned about the delay," it observed.

Swamy, who has filed a petition seeking a court-monitored CBI-led special investigation (SIT) probe into Pushkar's death, said he was not seeking exclusion of Delhi Police from the SIT.

The BJP leader said various reports have suggested that Pushkar's death was unnatural but delay in getting the scientific report was an attempt to sabotage the probe.

Swamy tried to link the death of Pushkar with some IPL controversy and asked the court for an investigation.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, appearing for Tharoor's stepson Shiv Menon, submitted that he appreciated the stand of the ASG on behalf of the police.

Pahwa also submitted that the court should peruse the case diary to ascertain the progress made in the probe.

The bench replied that they would decide about it only after the ASG peruses the report and makes his submissions about the time-frame by which it would be over.

Pahwa contended that Menon had sought his impleadment as a party in the matter because he thinks that nobody would be more concerned than him about his mother's death.

The counsel further contended that he (Menon) had a right to get a copy of Swanmy' petition and other documents as he is the son of the deceased.

The bench agreed to Pahwa's contention and asked advocate Ishkaran Singh Bhandari, who along with Swamy has filed the petition, to supply him the copies.

The ASG said that the delay, if any, was not at the individual level of police officers but rather due to the delay in getting the scientific reports.

During the hearing, the law officer offered that police officials be given some time in a chamber hearing to apprise the bench about the intricacies of the case as he did not wish to discuss them in an open court.

The bench then asked the ASG to peruse them and inform it after two weeks about the status of the probe into the death.

The bench said the ASG was a responsible officer of the court and he shall guide them.

"If you have some different report on the development in the probe after two weeks, it's okay. Otherwise, we will look into it. Before we get into it, we will wait for two more weeks and see what you have come up with," the bench added.

The court then fixed the matter for September 21, when the ASG will inform the court on the progress and give his opinion on how much more time the investigating agency shall take to conclude.

Swamy and Bhandari have alleged that "inordinate delay" has been caused in the probe "which is a blot on the justice system".

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