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Does the key to the Sunanda Pushkar death probe lie in the unexplained injection mark?

Thursday, 3 July 2014 - 6:30am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

The sensational claim by head of forensic department at AIIMS, Dr Sudhir Gupta, that he was pressurised to fabricate the autopsy report of former union minister Shashi Tharoor's wife, Sunanda Pushkar, once again raises doubts on the unexplained injection mark on her right wrist."

Sunanda's body had 15 injuries, all of them caused over a span of 12 hours before her death. Injury number 12 was caused by a teeth bite. All the injuries "were caused by blunt force, simple in nature and not contributing to death, except injury number 10, which is an injection mark," reads the report.

After Dr Gupta's statement, union health minister Harsh Vardhan has sought a detailed report from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The hospital administration has refuted Dr Gupta's claims. Dr Gupta headed the team of forensic experts that had conducted the post-mortem on Pushkar.

"After I became the health minister, Dr Sudhir Gupta of AIIMS had written to the department about his promotion. But after TV channels yesterday said that he has made a specific allegation, I have written to the AIIMS director seeking detailed information in this regard," the health minister said.

Delhi police commissioner B S Bassi said that the police would "examine Dr Gupta" if necessary, and his affidavit, which has been filed before the Central Administrative Tribunal, will also be brought on record.

In his affidavit to CAT on June 26, Dr Gupta accused former health minister and then president of AIIMS Ghulam Nabi Azad and Shashi Tharoor for pressuring him to act in an "unprofessional" manner to hush up the matter.

"(The) applicant could not muster courage of openly placing the facts in black and white as the former president of AIIMS Shri Gulam Nabi Azad was an immensely powerful politician and then the health minister and the husband of late Sunanda Pushkar was also a minister and a powerful politician," Gupta said in his affidavit.

Sunanda, 52, was found dead inside Leela Palace hotel in Delhi on January 17. The search and seizure memorandum of the police, which is a part of the report, mentioned a mix of two drugs -- Alprazolam and Excedrin in her body. Inquest proceedings under Section 174 CrPC were initiated in the Sunanda case.

AIIMS denies that UPA minister Ghulam Nabi Azad exerted pressure to alter autopsy report 
The controversy over the death of ex-Union minister Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushar continues, after a dramatic claim by AIIMS doctor Sudhir Gupta that there was 'pressure from outside' (from a ministerial colleague of Shashi Tharoor, namely Ghulam Nabi Azad) to change the autopsy report of Pushkar's death was rejected by AIIMS on Wednesday. 
According to a report published in a website, Gupta, who was heading the panel that conducted the post-mortem of Sunanda, has filed an affidavit in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) stating that he was pressurised by former union minister and president of AIIMS Ghulam Nabi Azad to act in an “unprofessional” manner to cover up the matter.  Gupta has further claimed that he was not able to state the truth in his report due to the influence of two ex-powerful Cabinet ministers Shashi Tharoor and Azad. The report quoted the affidavit saying, “(The) applicant could not muster courage of openly placing the facts in black and white as the former president of AIIMS Shri Gulam Nabi Azad was an immensely powerful politician and then the health minister and the husband of late Sunanda Pushkar was also a minister and a powerful politician.” Gupta in his application has asked CAT to allow him to give his views in sealed envelope.  Interestingly, Dr Gupta's disclosure comes at a time when has been slapped with charges of plagiarism and misconduct.
Rejecting the charge of Sudhir Gupta on Wednesday, the AIIMS said it "categorically denies" his claim. AIIMS spokespersons Amit Gupta and Neerja Bhatla said there was no evidence that any pressure from outside was put on him (Sudhir Gupta) to alter the autopsy report. Gupta had also written to current Health Minister Harsh Vardhan against a government move to promote a faculty member which, he alleged, was started under the then UPA government so that he could be removed as the head of the department as he did not change the post mortem report. Read more


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