The Delhi High Court today asked the city police to inform it after two weeks the status of the probe into the death of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar. A bench of Justices G S Sistani and Chander Shekhar said so after Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain submitted that the court can look into the status of the investigation they have carried out so far. ASG also submitted that the court could talk to senior Delhi police officials involved with the case inside the chamber as there was no laxity on part of the police in investigating the matter. He claimed that the lag was not at the individual level but due to the delay in getting the scientific reports. On hearing this, the bench said it was not fair to look into or monitor the investigation, but would “certainly like to know where the investigation stands as of today.”
“The incident is of January 2014 and we are in middle of 2017. It’s almost over three years but nothing concrete has come as of today,” the bench said, adding “certainly it cannot be unending”. “We have no hesitation to look into your report, but it is a bad habit to monitor the probe,” it said.
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 posted the matter after two weeks and said that by then the ASG himself should look into the status of the investigation. “If you are with some different report on the development of 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 said.
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, who has filed a plea 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. Swamy 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.
Meanwhile, senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, appearing for Tharoor’s stepson Shiv Menon, submitted in the court that the investigating agency should be given a direction for a time- bound probe into the matter. Pahwa said that Menon had moved impleadment in the matter because he did not think anybody else would be more concerned about his mother’s death. The counsel further contended that he (Menon) had a right to get copy of the petition filed by Swamy and other documents in this regard, as he is the son.
The bench agreed to Pahwa’s contention and directed advocate Ishkaran Singh Bhandari, who along with Swamy has filed the petition, to supply him the copies.
Swamy and Bhandari have alleged that “inordinate delay” has been caused in the probe “which is a blot on the justice system”. The high court had on August 1 questioned Delhi Police over the delay in finding reasons behind the death of Pushkar. The bench was not convinced with the police’s submission with regard to the difference of opinion in the findings of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) and the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), both based here.
The court had also expressed displeasure over the contention in the status report that data from some of the mobile phones, seized during the investigation, have been deleted and the Indian forensic laboratories have been unable to retrieve them.