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Sunanda Pushkar case: Advanced tests to determine cause of injuries

Friday, 24 January 2014 - 8:52pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The probe into the high-profile case was transfered to the Crime Branch on Thursday considering its "sensitive nature" and "complexities" involved.

The Crime Branch probing the mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar will go for advanced forensic tests to determine cause of injuries on her body as it tries to unravel whether it was a case of suicide, homicide or accident. Investigators said autopsy report had mentioned more than a dozen injury marks on Sunanda's body besides a "deep teeth bite" on the edge of her left palm and they were trying to ascertain whether the injuries were "inflicted" on her.

They said doctors who conducted autopsy on her body had preserved Sunanda's skin samples where the injuries were found and the advanced forensic tests like histopathology will be carried out to determine how old the injuries were and its causes.

Union Minister Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda, 52, was found dead in a 5-star hotel in South Delhi on Friday night, a day after her twitter spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar over an alleged affair with Tharoor.

The probe into the high-profile case was transfered to the Crime Branch on Thursday considering its "sensitive nature" and "complexities" involved.

The autopsy report had mentioned use of blunt force for the injury marks on both her hands and left cheek.

Forensic experts are of the view that whether the injuries were self inflicted or otherwise can only be ascertained by detailed histopathology tests.

On Tuesday, a sub-divisional magistrate had directed Delhi Police to investigate the murder or suicide angles in the case that the nature of those injuries and how old they were, would help them in the case.

Top officials of south district police, who were handling the case till Thursday, on Friday briefed the Crime Branch investigators about the case in an hour long meeting.

The investigators said they were also waiting for the toxicology report from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) to know what sort of poison had caused her death as the SDM report had concluded that she died of "poisoning".

In a report to the police, SDM, who has recorded the statements of Sunanda's brother, son, Tharoor and his staff, had said that no family member suspected any foul play in the death.

The autopsy report mentioned finding of mix of two drugs - Alprazolam and Excedrin - in Sunanda's body. Excedrin is a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine.

The SDM, in his report, had said Sunanda could have died in "just three ways, homicidal, suicidal and accidental" and police should investigate further to ascertain the reason of her death.

Any death within seven years of marriage is legally required to be investigated by the sub-divisional magistrate.

The South district police, which had questioned a number of staff of Leela Palace hotel in Chanakyapuri where Sunanda was found dead, handed over all case details to Crime Branch team on Friday.

The police had also seized Sunanda's iPad and phone and preserved the CCTV footage of the lobby of the third floor of the luxury hotel where she was staying.

All the case properties were handed over to the crime branch.

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