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'Tharoor and my sister were madly in love with each other'

January 25, 2014 19:06 IST

Sunanda Pushkar's brother Rajesh, a serving colonel in Indian Army, on Saturday came out in strong defence of Union minister Shashi Tharoor, saying it was "unimaginable" that he could harm Sunanda.

In a statement, Rajesh said Sunanda was one of the strongest personalities he knew and to even remotely think that she would do any bodily harm to herself was "preposterous" and "should not be believed".

He also sought speedy investigation into the case "to put an end to the rumours that are hurting" the family. The probe into the high-profile case was transferred to the Crime Branch on Thursday considering its "sensitive nature" and the "complexities" involved.

"I have been with both Shashi and my sister throughout their journey together and can say with utmost confidence that they were a couple madly in love with each other. Differences, if any, were momentary and do happen in every household, and we do not believe that they have any bearing on the incident," he said.

Rejecting speculation in the media about Sunanda's death, he said both he and his father were "deeply disturbed" at the "slanderous statements" that have been made in the media regarding her death.

"I have known my sister to be an angel at heart but to often impulsively say things she did not mean and withdraw them later," he said.

Sunanda, 52, was found dead in a 5-star hotel in South Delhi on January 17, a day after her Twitter spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar over an alleged affair with
Tharoor.

"My sister was one of the strongest personalities and to even remotely think that she would do any bodily harm to herself is preposterous and should not be believed. Also to think that my brother-in-law would do any harm to her is unimaginable," he said.

He requested that the matter be put to rest so that peace can be bestowed on the departed soul.

This was the second statement issued by a family member of Sunanda.

Earlier this week, Sunanda's 21-year-old son from a previous marriage, Shiv Menon, had released a statement to the media saying his mother was "too strong" to commit suicide and she died due to an "unfortunate combination of media stress, tensions and a wrong mix of different medication".

He asserted that he did not believe that there was a foul play in his mother's death, saying both Tharoor and his mother were "very much in love" despite their "occasional differences" and that he did not believe the Union minister was capable of harming her physically.

On Tuesday, a sub-divisional magistrate had directed Delhi police to investigate the murder or suicide angles in the case while concluding that poisoning was the cause of her death.

The autopsy report had mentioned more than a dozen injury marks on Sunanda's body besides a "deep teeth bite" on the edge of her left palm.

The Crime Branch team probing the case has decided to go for advanced forensic tests to determine cause of injuries on her body.

The autopsy report had mentioned the use of blunt force to explain the injury marks on both her hands and left cheek.

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