Pushkar’s Death Probe Was ‘Shoddy’: Head of AIIMS Forensic Dept

Head of AIIMS forensic department, Dr Sudhir Gupta said there have been many attempts to dilute the investigation.

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Late Sunanda Puskhar (L) and her husband Shashi Tharoor’s wedding ceremony in Palakkad, in Kerala. (Photo: Reuters)

The head of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) forensic department, Dr Sudhir Gupta, on Tuesday, said that Delhi Police conducted a slipshod investigation into Sunanda Pushkar death case.

Pushkar, 52, wife of senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, was found dead in a south Delhi hotel room on January 17, 2014.

It has been a shoddy investigation on the part of the police. There have been many errors in the investigation. The delay in sending the viscera samples of Sunanda Pushkar to the FBI led to its degradation.

Sudhir Gupta, Head of Forensic Department, AIIMS

On January 15, Dr Gupta told this correspondent that the FBI had found a few radioactive substances in the viscera, “but due to degraded viscera, they could not read its intensity.” This was contrary to what the police had claimed that no radioactive substance had been found in the viscera.

With reference to the police’s claim of uncertainty about the exact cause of death or lack of ‘clarity’ on the poisonous substance that caused Pushkar’s death, Gupta said:

Delhi Police are lying if they are saying so. There have been many attempts to dilute the investigation. The previous government and the AIIMS administration even tried to remove me from my post so that they could form a new medical board which would give a ‘natural death’ report. But they did not succeed. I did not compromise with the principles and ethics of my profession.

Gupta had earlier alleged that he was asked by Director of AIIMS MC Mishra to prepare a post-mortem examination report of Pushkar, stating her death was ‘natural’. The AIIMS director had filed an affidavit with the Delhi High Court last year to remove Gupta from his post.

Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi earlier said that they had received a report from AIIMS on the FBI’s finding on the viscera samples of Pushkar. The FBI had endorsed the AIIMS report of poisoning as the cause of Pushkar’s death. Pushkar’s viscera samples were sent to the FBI lab in Washington DC, in February last year to determine the poison that may have killed her. The report was received in October 2015.

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