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
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0254 GMT (1054 HKT)
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0024 GMT (0824 HKT)
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1844 GMT (0244 HKT)
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0106 GMT (0906 HKT)
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0822 GMT (1622 HKT)
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2100 GMT (0500 HKT)
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 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