India MP Shashi Tharoor charged over wife’s death

By BBC

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Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in her hotel room in January 2014

(BBC) – Indian MP and former UN diplomat Shashi Tharoor has been charged with aiding his wife’s suicide in 2014.

Sunanda Pushkar’s unexplained death was initially treated as suicide but police later said she had been murdered, without naming a suspect.

Police in Delhi have now charged Mr Tharoor with abetment to suicide and cruelty to his spouse.

Mr Tharoor tweeted to say he intended to “vigorously” contest the “preposterous charges” against him.

A career diplomat for 25 years, Mr Tharoor served as undersecretary general at the United Nations for communications and public information.

In 2007, he lost the election for the post of UN secretary-general to Ban Ki-moon, after which he announced his retirement from the United Nations.

He entered Indian politics in 2009, but was forced to resign from his first ministerial position in 2010 amid controversy over his involvement in bidding for a cricket team.

Ms Pushkar had allegedly received a free stake in the Indian Premier League franchise he was bidding for.

He was appointed minister of state for human resource development in 2012.

What is abetment to suicide?

In Indian law, abetment to suicide means instigating someone to kill themselves. It is usually punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine.

That can rise to life imprisonment or even the death penalty if the deceased was under 18, suffering from mental infirmity, or in a state of intoxication. However, judges in India are only meant to impose the death penalty in cases considered “the rarest of rare”.

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