Sunday, January 19, 2014

Shashi Tharoor

Demise of a spouse is normally a matter for personal mourning and not for public debate. The sudden and unnatural death of Sunanda Pushkar is on a different plane and one is obliged to make some observations.

When the IPL - Kochi scandal broke out embarrassing and perhaps incriminating the then Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Tharoor had to resign. In response to an uncalled for and uncharitable remark by Narendra Modi on the relationship between Tharoor and his then would-be spouse, Tharoor made an equally uncharitable comment that bachelors could not comprehend the nature of love and the need to respect women. Tharoor, presently the Minister of State, HRD Ministry must be repenting that comment now. It is an irony of sorts that a much divorced minister who is unable to maintain stable relations with a spouse is in charge of developing human resources.

We may never know whether Sunanda Pushkar was murdered or she committed suicide. It is a sad reflection of times that police reports and autopsy reports have long ceased to be reliable. It is quite possible that if a lesser mortal had been in the place of Tharoor, he would have been taken into custody at least to prevent destruction of evidence. But then different rules apply to ministers.

A few facts stand out. There were heated open arguments between the couple at the airport and during the Thiruvananthapuram - Delhi flight. It was first made out that the couple preferred to stay at Leela Palace. It turned out that it was Sunanda who decided to stay at the hotel. Tharoor followed in a different room. The initial excuse for the hotel stay in Delhi was that their house was being painted and that she was allergic to dust. The excuse was later changed to fumigation of the house. It appears from the evidence of a domestic employee that no such work was going on. All these may not be a conclusive proof of foul play. But these are enough to create reasonable suspicion even in the most gullible mind. Sunanda had also threatened to speak out on the IPL scandal.

Is the minister being honeytrapped by our smart neighbours? In that not unlikely event, is not our prime minister taking a big security risk for the nation? As the saying goes, an open door tempts even a saint. And Pakistan and China are not exactly saints.

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