Union Minister Shashi Tharoor and his wife Sunanda Pushkar Thursday issued a joint statement saying they are distressed by an "unseemly controversy" over some "unauthorised tweets" posted from their Twitter accounts and that both are "happily married and intend to remain that way".
In a statement, they said that "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."
"We wish to stress that we are happily married and intend to remain that way. Sunanda has been ill and hospitalised this week and is seeking to rest. We would be grateful if the media respects our privacy," the statement to the media said.
The scandal erupted Wednesday after tweets posted on the verified account of Tharoor, the minister of state for human resource development, got twitterati all abuzz due to the very personal nature of the posts.
The tweets on Tharoor's timeline were purportedly those he received from Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar. Some of them, which have been since deleted but are still on twitter, read: "@mehrtarar I love you, Shashi Tharoor. And I go while in love with you, irrevocably, irreversibly, hamesha. Bleeding, but always your Mehr."
"Shashi. I'm not crying any more. I'm not falling to pieces. I'm more lucid than ever. How little I knew you became visible to me.@mehrtarar"
Tharoor later tweeted saying his account had been hacked and would be offline for sometime.
But Sunanda Pushkar, Tharoor's third wife, told Economic Times in an interview that she had been sending the tweets of Mehr from her husband's account. She denied that Tharoor's account had been hacked and described Mehr as "a Pakistani woman who is an ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) agent, and she is stalking my husband. And you know how men are. He is flattered by the attention."
"I took upon myself the crimes of this man during IPL (Indian Premier League). I will not allow this to be done to me. I just can't tolerate this. I have nothing more to say," she told ET. She told Indian Express she is distressed over the controversy and wants to divorce Tharoor.
Tarar in an interview to Times Now television said she would file a defamation suit against Pushkar for calling her an ISI agent. She also tweeted: "For a woman to trash another woman linking her w/her husband is the lowest form of sickness ever. It's nauseous. No respect for her marriage."
"So I 'stalk' on bbm and phone. The last I checked it was a two-way thing, or maybe technology changed while I 'stalked'?
"The blonde's aqal is weaker thn her grammar & spellings.From an 'affair' it has become 'stalking'..make up yr mind, darlin'.Which one is it?"
"A wife who claims to love her husband drags his name through dirt,brings an imaginary personal thing on media,& ends up becoming a joke," she wrote.
Twitteratti has been agog with the raging controversy.
@baboomoshay 5m posted: "Why is Congress and Home Minister quiet on revelation by Sunanda Pushkar that her hubby Shashi Tharoor having an affair with Pak ISI agent?"
@Purba_Ray: "Sunanda Pushkar's grammar and typos are scarier than her temper."