Skip to main content

India police: Minister's wife who accused him of affair found dead

By Michael Martinez and Aliza Kassim, CNN
January 18, 2014 -- Updated 0055 GMT (0855 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Pakistani journalist: "I met the minister twice in my entire life"
  • Pakistani journalist denies having affair and is shocked at death
  • Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Minister Shashi Tharoor, is dead, police say
  • She had publicly accused her husband of adultery with the Pakistani journalist

Editor's note: See more coverage on our Indian sister network CNN-IBN

(CNN) -- The wife of a minister in India has died after a public controversy in which she reportedly accused her husband of having an affair with a Pakistani journalist, authorities said.

Delhi Police spokesman Rajan Bhagat confirmed Friday that Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Minister Shashi Tharoor, has died, but he couldn't confirm a cause of death until a postmortem examination is conducted.

Her death comes just days after CNN-IBN and other Indian media reported that she had hacked into her husband's Twitter account and tweeted that he was having an affair with a Pakistani journalist.

That journalist, Mehr Tarar, however, dismissed the affair allegation in an article on the New Delhi Television website.

On Thursday, a day before Pushkar's death was revealed, Tarar described Pushkar's purported tweets as "wild allegations."

"Her tweets to me are so crazy that all I can do is laugh," Tarar said.

After Pushkar's death was announced, Tarar expressed shock on her Twitter account on Friday.

"I just woke up and read this. I'm absolutely shocked. This is too awful for words. So tragic I don't know what to say. Rest in peace, Sunanda," Tarar tweeted.

Tarar spoke to CNN Friday, expressing grief and sorrow over Pushkar's death.

"I have been up the whole night, frozen in one spot, unable to eat or even have a sip of water," Tarar said.

"She had a Twitter fight with me, and then she died. I didn't even get a chance to call her up, and clear the air," she added. "She seemed larger than life, always smiling, and the manner in which she died would haunt me for a long, long time."

Tarar also said the allegations of an affair were false.

"I had met the minister twice in my entire life and always in the presence of other people," Tarar said. "We were in touch until June and then it was reduced to an e-mail or two in weeks. "

Pushkar, a businesswoman from Dubai, and Tharoor married in 2010.The couple was active in New Delhi's glamorous social circles.

On Thursday, Pushkar and Tharoor issued a statement, saying they were "happily married," but that Pushkar had been hospitalized this week and was resting.

"We are distressed by the unseemly controversy that has arisen about some unauthorised tweets from our Twitter accounts," the couple said in the statement, which was linked to Tharoor's Twitter page.

"Various distorted accounts of comments allegedly made by Sunanda have appeared in the press. It appears that some personal and private comments responding to these unauthorised tweets -- comments that were not intended for publication -- have been misrepresented and led to some erroneous conclusions," the couple said.

On Pushkar's Twitter account Wednesday, a tweet accused Tarar of stalking Pushkar's husband: "@MehrTarar leave us Indians alone and stop talking to my huband and pleading with him its digrading respect youself (sic) as a woman."

Another of the tweets purportedly from Pushkar said: "@MehrTarar the audacity of a woman desperaely (sic) in love with an Indian 'please shashi dont make me go i pleaded and begged i love u Shashi.' "

CNN-IBN reported that Pushkar died in her room in a five-star hotel in New Delhi. The couple were staying at the hotel for a few days, said Abhinab Kumar, an aide to Tharoor.

Tharoor is an Indian minister for human resource and development and a member of parliament. He is also the former minister of state for external affairs and former United Nations under-secretary-general.

CNN's Sumnima Udas and Jessica King contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1521 GMT (2321 HKT)
The first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine has produced promising results, U.S. scientists said.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1415 GMT (2215 HKT)
Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teen in August abandoned home after address made public.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 2236 GMT (0636 HKT)
HBO -- backing a documentary based on "Going Clear," a book about Scientology and Hollywood -- isn't taking any chances with legal side.
November 26, 2014 -- Updated 1935 GMT (0335 HKT)
Grandmaster Nguyen Van Chieu has devoted his adult life to spreading the word about Vietnames martial art, Vovinam.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1136 GMT (1936 HKT)
England cricketer Nick Compton shares insight into "drive and courage" it takes to face fears as top batsman.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 0059 GMT (0859 HKT)
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0118 GMT (0918 HKT)
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
November 25, 2014 -- Updated 2318 GMT (0718 HKT)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 1043 GMT (1843 HKT)
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
November 24, 2014 -- Updated 0051 GMT (0851 HKT)
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 2106 GMT (0506 HKT)
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
November 21, 2014 -- Updated 2319 GMT (0719 HKT)
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1945 GMT (0345 HKT)
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
November 27, 2014 -- Updated 1703 GMT (0103 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT