As the indecorous row surrounding the suave 57-year-old Shashi Tharoor escalated, the controversy-prone minister took to Twitter to come out with a joint statement with his wife Sunanda Pushkar to say they were "happily married", but distressed by "some unauthorised tweets".
"We wish to stress that we are happily married and intend to remain that way. Sunanda has been ill and hospitalised this week and is seeking rest. We would be grateful if the media respects our privacy," said the statement by Shashi Tharoor, who married Pushkar in 2010. The row erupted after exchange of some messages involving the three, some of them intimate.
"We are distressed by the unseemly controversy that has arisen about some unauthorised tweets from our twitter accounts," the diplomat-turned politician said.
Sunanda Pushkar has accused the 45-year-journalist Mehr Tarar of stalking her husband and trying to "break" her marriage when she was away for medical treatment.
Both Tharoor, who finds himself in the controversy barely months before the Lok Sabha elections, and Pushkar had married twice before. The Minister of State for Human Resources Development is a Congress Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram.
The tweet war, which set the social media abuzz, also saw Sunanda Pushkar allege that Mehr Tarar was an ISI agent. Tarar denied the charge and threatened to file a defamation suit against her.
A day after she reportedly alleged that her husband was having an "extramarital affair" with the journalist and that she would "seek divorce", Sunanda Pushkar appeared to relent a bit and said earlier in the day, saying Shashi Tharoor and she are a "very happily married couple".
Pushkar also alleged that Mehr Tarar wanted to have a "relationship" with her husband and asked her to stay away.
Mehr Tarar, a mother of a 13-year-old son and an Op-ed writer and a contributor to a Pakistani daily, tweeted up a storm since the saga started playing out on social media, shooting off uncharitable barbs at Pushkar and defending herself.
Mehr Tarar dismissed the allegations as untrue and said she was totally amused. She said Sunanda has gone out of her mind.
"For a woman to trash another woman linking her w/her husband is the lowest form of sickness ever. It's nauseous. No respect for her marriage," the journalist said in a series of tweets.
After Shashi Tharoor's joint statement was issued, Mehr Tarar tweeted, "The wife trashed the husband. Now doing WTH damage control....".
"Various distorted accounts of comments allegedly made by Sunanda have appeared in the press. It appears that some personal and private comments responding to these unauthorised tweets, comments that were not intended for publication, have been misrepresented and led to some erroneous conclusions," the joint statement said.
Targeting Sunanda Pushkar, Mehr Tarar tweeted that she had nothing to say to a woman clearly out of her mind.
"To be called an ISI agent, a stalker..I have nothing to add. Just shows who she is.
"So I 'stalk' on bbm and phone. The last I checked it was a two-way thing, or maybe technology changed while I 'stalked'
For a woman to trash another woman linking her w/her husband is the lowest form of sickness ever. It's nauseous. No respect for her marriage," the journalist said.
Tarar said she had great respect for Tharoor and that everything about him on her Twitter account was on her timeline. She said Tharoor's view on politics had always fascinated her. How can somebody stalk on phone she asked, and added Sunanda's tweets are crazy.
The journalist said she met Tharoor for the first time for an interview.
"It was a pleasure to meet him. His views as a politician fascinated me," said Tarar, who describes herself as a 'housewife and a mother'.
Pushkar claimed on Twitter that she was posting from her husband's account, intimate private messages sent to him by Tarar, to show the world "how she is stalking my h .."
She said her information from Pakistan was that the journalist was "wired" to suggest she had links with an intelligency agency.
Pushkar also said she indeed had sent out a few tweets to Tarar, who she claimed "wants to have a life-long relationship with Shashi not knowing that he is a happily married man."
"The tweets that I sent today were that a woman should stay away from a woman's husband, it's not morally right.
"I was just trying to tell my husband that stay away from her because it's election year. I was also a bit annoyed by a girl lying about me, trying to get close to my husband."
"He (Shashi) is a minister, I am a common person, "aam aadmi". I get upset. I am a human being," she said.
The Twitter handle of Tharoor, one of the most popular Indian politicians on the networking site, was allegedly hacked yesterday and some wacky tweets were sent from it to Tarar.
"Sorry folks, my @Twitter account has been hacked & will be temporarily deactivated. Bear with me while we solve this," he told his followers in his page.