World News

Prominent Indian politician accused of role in wife's death

Posted May 14, 2018 1:39 p.m. EDT

— Shashi Tharoor, one of India's most prominent opposition politicians, pledged Monday that he will "vigorously" contest allegations that he had any role in his wife's death in 2014.

"I have taken note of the filing of this preposterous charge sheet & intend to contest it vigorously," he said on Twitter.

His statement came amid reports that police in the Indian capital had filed what's known as a charge sheet against him, accusing him of abetting what they say was his wife's suicide. CNN has not confirmed those reports.

Tharoor, who in 2006 was a candidate for the job of UN Secretary General, married Sunanda Pushkar in 2010, and the two made a high-profile couple.

But in January 2014, she was found dead in a hotel room in a luxury Delhi hotel at the age of 51. A preliminary report found that this was "a case of unnatural sudden death," Dr. Sudhir Gupta, head of the autopsy board at the hospital, told CNN at the time.

Tharoor, a former top United Nations diplomat and best-selling author-turned-politician in India's opposition Congress Party, hit back at the reports of the charge sheet on Twitter.

"No one who knew Sunanda believes she would ever have committed suicide, let alone abetment on my part. If this is conclusion arrived at after 4+ yrs of investigation, ... it does not speak well of the methods or motivations of the Delhi Police," he tweeted.

The Congress Party backed Tharoor, issuing a statement via its official Twitter handle denouncing what it labeled a "politically motivated charge sheet against him."

In the years since Pushkar's death, Tharoor has been dogged by frenzied speculation in the Indian media about the causes of her death, with the local press closely following every development in a long-running police investigation to determine Puskhar's passing.

One of India's best known public figures, Tharoor has been questioned as part of the police probe and has always strongly denied that he had any role in her death.