The wife of an Indian government minister has been found dead in a hotel room in Delhi after her husband was accused of having an affair with a Pakistani journalist.
Police are investigating the cause of Sunanda Pushkar’s death. Tweets allegedly posted by Pushkar this week accused the journalist of being a spy and of having an affair with Pushkar’s husband, Shashi Tharoor, a junior human resources minister.
On Thursday Tharoor and Pushkar issued a joint statement saying they were happily married and the tweets were unauthorised. In interviews with Indian television channels the journalist denied she was having an affair with Tharoor and said she had met him in the past for interviews.
Abhinav Kumar, a minister’s aide, told reporters on Friday that Tharoor and his wife had moved into the hotel on Thursday as some painting work was being done at their home. The minister thought his wife was sleeping when he returned to their suite on Friday night after attending a meeting of his governing Congress party. But she was found dead, he said.
Pushkar on Thursday gave a series of rambling interviews to Indian TV stations in which she said she had no intention at the moment to leave her husband. At one point, a newscaster asked if she realised she was speaking on television.
The Pakistani journalist, in interviews with Indian TV stations on Thursday, denied that she was having an affair with Tharoor. She said she had met him in the past for interviews.
Tharoor was UN undersecretary-general for communications and public information under former secretary general Kofi Annan. His name was among those considered for the top UN post in 2006, when Ban Ki-moon was voted in.
In 2009, Tharoor won a seat in India‘s parliament and later became a minister in prime minister Manmohan Singh’s government.