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Dr Gupta, who was heading the panel that conducted Sunanda’s post-mortem, has reportedly alleged that he was pressurised to show that her death was natural.
The Indian government on Wednesday sought a detailed report from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on the reported allegation by a senior forensic doctor, that he was pressurised to manipulate the report of the autopsy of Sunanda Pushkar, wife of former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor.
“After I became the Health Minister, Dr Sudhir Gupta of AIIMS had written to our department regarding his promotion. But after TV channels reported that he has made a specific allegation, I have written to the AIIMS Director seeking a detailed information in this regard,” Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said.
The allegation by Dr Gupta, who heads the Forensic Science department of AIIMS, has added a new twist to the mystery surrounding the death of 52-year-old Sunanda Pushkar.
Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a 5-star hotel in South Delhi on the night of 17th January, a day after her twitter spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar over an alleged affair with Tharoor.
Dr Gupta refused to comment on his reported allegation, saying he has already stated the facts before the “competent” authorities.
“I don’t want to comment on this issue. It is a legal matter, a serious issue, I cannot share with the media. I am a government servant. Whatever I wanted to say, I have said at a competent place,” he said.
Dr Gupta, who was heading the panel that conducted Sunanda’s post-mortem, has reportedly alleged he was pressurised to show that her death was natural, which he claims he resisted.
The autopsy report had mentioned more than a dozen injury marks on both of Sunanda Pushkar’s hands and an abrasion on her cheek which suggested a “use of blunt force”, besides a “deep teeth bite” on the edge of her left palm. Viscera samples were preserved after the autopsy at AIIMS and were sent to CFSL for further tests.
The CFSL report hinted at drug poisoning but its findings were not conclusive enough to file an FIR in the case, according to the police.
The search and seizure memorandum of the police, which is a part of the report, mentioned finding a mix of two drugs — Alprazolam and Excedrin. Excedrin is a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine while Alprazolam is an anxiolytic.
The probe into the case was handed over to the Crime Branch on 23rd January. However, the case was transferred back to the South District police two days later on 25th January.
Inquest proceedings under Section 174 CrPC were initiated in the Sunanda Pushkar case according to which a sub-divisional magistrate inquires into the death of a woman if she dies within seven years of her marriage.
In a report to the police, the SDM, who had recorded the statements of the victim's brother, son, Shashi Tharoor and his staff, had said that no family member suspected any foul play in the death.
The BJP figures in the list of foreign political parties along with Lebanon’s Amal, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the Pakistan Peoples Party, on whom the US National Security Agency was given permission to carry out surveillance
Reacting strongly to reports of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders being spied upon by the American National Security Agency (NSA), India on Wednesday summoned a top US diplomat to raise the issue. India said it was 'totally unacceptable' that an Indian organisation or Indian individual’s privacy was transgressed upon.
India also sought an assurance from the US that it will not happen again.
However, officials did not say who the US diplomat summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) was.
Significantly, the US currently has an interim ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, who came in after former US Ambassador Nancy Powell resigned from her post.
India also noted that it had raised the issue with the US administration in Washington and the Delhi Embassy in July and November last year when reports emerged that NSA had spied upon individuals and entities, and said it was still “awaiting a response from America on this''.
India had reacted sharply when the reports of snooping by NSA came to light, after revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last year.
BJP figures in the list of foreign political parties along with Lebanon’s Amal, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and the Pakistan Peoples Party, on whom the National Security Agency was given permission to carry out surveillance, says the document made public on Monday by The Washington Post.
The document lists the 193 foreign governments as well as foreign factions and other entities that were part of a 2010 certification approved by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The list includes Indian entities.
“These are the entities about which the NSA may conduct surveillance for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence,” the paper had said, citing documents provided to it by Snowden.