In a significant development in Sunanda Pushkar's death at a star hotel in Delhi in Jan 2014, a Delhi court today summoned her husband and senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor as an accused.
The court asked Tharoor to appear before the court on July 7, saying there were sufficient grounds to proceed against him.
Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal took cognizance of the offences of alleged abetment of suicide and committing cruelty by Shashi Tharoor towards Sunanda Pushkar.
"I have heard the prosecutor. I have gone through and perused the charge sheet and the documents filed along with it. On the basis of police report (charge sheet), I take cognisance of offence of abetment of suicide of late Sunanda Pushkar and committing cruelty upon her by Dr Shashi Tharoor," the judge said.
"There exists sufficient grounds to proceed against Tharoor for commission of offences of Section 306 and 498 A of IPC. Issue summons to him for appearance for July 7," the court added.
On May 28, the court had reserved its order on whether to summon Tharoor as an accused in the case.
The Delhi Police had on May 14 accused the Lok Sabha MP from Thiruvananthapuram of abetting Pushkar's suicide and told a city court that he should be summoned as an accused in the four-and-half year-old case, claiming there was sufficient evidence against him.
In a nearly 3,000-page charge sheet, the police has named Tharoor as the only accused while also alleging that he had subjected his wife to cruelty. It had also urged the court to summon Tharoor as an accused.
The couple's domestic servant, Narayan Singh, has been named one of the key witnesses in the case.
51-yr-old Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in a luxury hotel room on the night of January 17, 2014.
The Congress leader has been charged under sections 498 A (husband or his relative subjecting a woman to cruelty) and 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code. Under section 498A, the maximum punishment is up to three years of imprisonment, while jail term up to 10 years is prescribed under section 306.
An FIR was registered by Delhi Police on January 1, 2015 against unknown persons under IPC section 302 (murder).
According to prosecution sources, the charge sheet mentions that Sunanda Pushkar was allegedly subjected to mental as well as physical cruelty. Shashi Tharoor has not been arrested in the case so far.