Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Step-son of Indian official rejects suicide of mother, defends step-father

Shiv Menon with Sashi Tharoor in Haridwar (Pic: NDTV)
NEW DELHI (AA) – The son of Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor from her earlier marriage has rejected the possibility that his mother committed suicide and has come to the defense of his step-father, a high-level Indian official.
Shiv Menon, who is 22, issued a statement Wednesday defending his step-father, federal minister of state for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor. The statement described media reports on his mother’s death as “untrue” and “outrageous."
“Anyone who knew my mother would simply know that she was too strong to commit suicide,” the statement said. 
Last Friday, a private news channel reported that Mrs. Tharoor’s WhatsApp status read, “Don't take life too seriously. No one gets out alive,” giving rise to  speculation that she committed suicide.
Menon also said he did not believe his step-father could have been responsible for his mother's death.
“I also do not believe that Shashi was capable of physically harming her, let alone the speculation that he could have taken her life," the statement said|. "They were very much in love, despite occasional differences, which they always overcame.” 
Menon did acknowledge that his mother was under pressure.
“It was an unfortunate combination of media stress, tensions and a wrong mix of different medications. Her death was peaceful and she passed in her sleep,” Menon wrote.
An empty strip of a popular anti-depressant drug was recovered from Mrs. Tharoor’s hotel room. He appealed to the media to let his mother “rest in peace”.
Mrs. Tharoor was found dead Friday evening at the five-star Leela Hotel two days after she said she was disturbed by an alleged affair her diplomat-turned-politician husband was having with Mehr Tarar, a Pakistani journalist.
An autopsy Saturday said Mrs. Tharoor died a “sudden unnatural death” and her body had some minor “injury marks,” giving rise to the speculation in the media.
But a detailed report by a magistrate after various lab tests concluded Tuesday that Mrs. Tharoor had died because of “poisoning,” giving rise to the theory that she might have been killed.
Earlier, Delhi police had questioned Mr. Tharoor, who was away from the hotel room attending a day-long Congress party meeting when his wife died Friday. 
On Wednesday, January 15, Mrs Tharoor accused Tarar in a series of tweets of “stalking” her husband, calling the Pakistani journalist an agent of the Pakistani intelligence services. Tarar; 45, had denied the accusations.
However, on Thursday, the celebrity couple had issued a statement saying they were “happily married” and intend to remain that way, seeking privacy from the media as Mrs Tharoor was unwell.
The Tharoors married in 2010.
In 2010, before his marriage, the politician had to resign from his first ministerial post after allegations surfaced that Pushkar had been given a free stake in the Kerala team of in the Indian Premier League, a short and popular format of cricket.

Mr. Tharoor, an internationally-acclaimed writer, has spent more than two decades at UN, his last post being the under-secretary there. He unsuccessfully contested for the post of UN Secretary General against Ban Ki-Moon before joining politics.
Anadolu Agency, January 22, 2014

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