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On the last date of hearing, additional chief metropolitan magistrate Samar Vishal had heard additional public prosecutor Atul Srivastava, who sought cognisance of the chargesheet filed under Section 306 (abetment of suicide) and 498A (cruelty) against Tharoor.
On Tuesday, the magistrate held, “I have gone through and perused the chargesheet and documents filed along with it by the special investigation team. On the basis of the police report, I take cognisance of offence of abetment of suicide punishable under Section 306 of IPC of late Ms Sunanda Pushkar, and of committing cruelty upon her punishable under Section 498A of IPC, by Dr Shashi Tharoor. There exist sufficient grounds to proceed against Dr Shashi Tharoor.” Under Section 498A, the maximum punishment is up to three years’ imprisonment, while a jail term up to 10 years is prescribed under Section 306.
Reacting to the court order, Tharoor posted a statement on Twitter that he will comply with the order. He, however, reiterated that he found the charges preposterous and baseless. “I will continue to vigorously contest these charges and maintain my steadfast conviction that ultimately the truth will prevail through the judicial system that we are privileged to have in our country,” Tharoor stated.
My statement on today’s news. https://t.co/5zWf4PR9ue
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) 1528198855000
Meanwhile, the court kept pending the application filed by BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, seeking direction to police to produce the report of a vigilance inquiry conducted in the case. The prosecution has been directed to file a reply by the next date of hearing.
The application states that the report of the vigilance inquiry, ordered by the Delhi police commissioner, had pointed to various serious shortcomings in the probe in the case. “Justice must be seen to be done. They should file the vigilance report,” Swamy urged before the court.
However, the prosecutor called Swamy’s plea “premature” and submitted that the case is triable by a court of sessions and, therefore, the application should have ideally been moved there.
Pushkar was found dead in a hotel room on the evening of January 17, 2014. Though it was initially a murder probe with the FIR registered under IPC Section 302 (murder), on May 28, police charged Tharoor under Sections 306 (abetment of suicide) and 498A (cruelty by husband) of the Indian Penal Code.