Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar, at the centre of a raging controversy involving Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, on Friday said she was "absolutely shocked" to learn of his wife Sunanda Pushkar's death. "What the hell. Sunanda. Oh my God," Tarar, a 45-year-old Lahore-based journalist, said in a message posted on Twitter soon after news broke of Pushkar's death this evening.
"I just woke up and read this. I'm absolutely shocked. This is too awful for words. So tragic I don't know what to say. Rest in peace, Sunanda," she said in another tweet.
Pushkar, upset over an alleged extra-marital affair between Tharoor and Tarar, was found dead in a five-star hotel in what police believe is a case of suicide.
The body of 52-year-old Pushkar, an entrepreneur who married Tharoor in August 2010, was found in mysterious circumstances in the luxury Leela Palace Hotel, police sources said.
Pushkar and Tharoor were at the centre of a row in the past two days when reports emerged that she was upset over reported text and tweet messages between her husband and Tarar.
Tarar, the mother of a 13-year-old son, had denied having an affair with the suave thrice-married Tharoor. She also shot off uncharitable barbs at Pushkar and defended herself.
Asked if she knew Tharoor, Tarar said yesterday, "I met him in April last year for an interview in India. Then I met him in June in Dubai in a social gathering. Yes, I have been in touch with him once in a while on Twitter and email."
As the indecorous row surrounding 57-year-old Tharoor escalated, the controversy-prone minister came out with a joint statement with his wife to say they were "happily married" but distressed by "some unauthorised tweets".
Pushkar had also accused Tarar of stalking her husband and trying to "break" her marriage when she was away for medical treatment.
The subsequent tweet war, which set social media abuzz, also saw Pushkar alleging that Tarar was an ISI agent. Tarar denied the charge and threatened to file a defamation suit against her.