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Hotel staff who found Sunanda Pushkar dead calls it quits

Tuesday, 25 March 2014 - 9:25am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

The mystery surrounding Sunanda Pushkar's death continues to both taunt and challenge all.

dna found that the first person to notice Sunanda Pushkar "dead" was a hotel employee named Elizabeth who has since left the job citing "personal reasons".

The Delhi police questioned Elizabeth, who is from a North-eastern state, on the evening of January 17, soon after she found Sunanda dead, and raised an alarm.

A source told dna that the police visited the hotel a second time to question certain employees. By then, Elizabeth had quit the job, and returned home.

Initial reports hinted that Tharoor found Sunanda dead. The source said Tharoor was in Sunanda's hotel room that evening from "6 to 8", along with her "personal assistant". Tharoor spent most part of that day at the AICC gathering in Talkatora Stadium.

dna tried contacting Tharoor several times on Monday. But all calls went unanswered. He was "unreachable", and when the mobile rang the calls were not received. SMSes too weren't replied.

The hotel room in which Sunanda was found dead has been "out of inventory" since then.

Deepak Mishra, special commissioner of police (law & order), Delhi police, is fighting to keep the media at bay after reports spoke of anomalies between the post-mortem and the viscera reports. The case has moved from "open-and-shut" to "nearly closed" to "wide open" in the weeks since then.

The Delhi police have not denied any of the media reports that suggested "foul play" in Sunanda's death.

Also, the case remains unresolved as Mishra told dna he's yet to get the viscera report and that he has to see both the post-mortem and the viscera reports "together" to proceed further.

"Don't ask me a single question on Sunanda Pushkar," Mishra warned dna on Monday. "I am fed up of media speculation. I've had enough of the questions. One more query and I'll throw a fit."

The post-mortem report pointed to poisoning. It concluded: "In this case of poisoning the circumstantial evidences are suggestive of Alprazolam poisoning. All the injuries mentioned are caused by blunt force, simple in nature, not contributing to death except injury number 10, which is an injection mark. Injury number 12 is a teeth bite mark. The injury number 1 to 15 are of various duration ranging from 12 to four hours." [Read Feb 25 dna story]

Whether "injury number 10, which is an injection mark" caused the death is still to be investigated. It's as if nobody sees it except the report.

Now, the viscera report has ruled out the presence of "poison" in Sunanda's body or traces of anxiety medicine Alprax, though investigators found two nearly used strips of the drug in her hotel room.

Mishra termed such talk "irresponsible media speculation". According to some media reports, the nearly used strips of Alprax could mean two things — either she took the medicine or somebody planted the strips in her room.

Mishra said: "The viscera report has to be seen in conjunction with the post-mortem report. When I read both reports together, only then can I come to a conclusion."

Without doubt, there's tremendous pressure on the police. The pointblank refusal to "say a word on Sunanda Pushkar" tells the story. As does the fact that Dr Adarsh Kumar, one of the three doctors who did the post-mortem on Sunanda's body, abruptly cut off the call when he was told that dna wanted a word with him on the viscera report.


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