Court directs police to de-seal hotel suite
A Delhi court on Tuesday ordered the de-sealing of a five-star hotel suite where Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar was found dead in 2014, noting that a huge financial loss was already caused to the hotel.
Metropolitan Magistrate Dharmender Singh asked police to file a compliance report by September 26 while allowing it to take all required articles from the room for its probe. During the hearing, however, the city police opposed the de-sealing, saying this was a “different” case.
“The suite is sealed for last about 3.5 years and already huge financial loss has been caused to the applicant (hotel). It is relevant to mention here that generally after inspection of the crime spot by the Forensic Sciences Laboratory (FSL) team or investigating agency, the said spot is not sealed or closed till arrival of FSL result,” the court said.
It also rejected the contention by Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) South district that only after the forensic report, the room should be de-sealed and said the reason was not justified.
During arguments, the DCP told the court that reminders were sent to the forensic labs and sought some more time.
When the court asked why police was taking so long to de-seal the room unlike most of other criminal cases, the police officer said “this is a different case. We sent reminders to the forensic labs for the reports yesterday only, and only after that we would be able to say when the room can be de-sealed. The court may summon the labs as well.”
The officer had appeared on the directions of the court which had on September 4 rapped police for its “lethargic attitude” in its probe in the case.
Police had sought more time to complete the probe and said teams of forensic experts had visited the suite recently and collected various evidence, reports of which were awaited.
The court had on July 21 ordered de-sealing of the suite within four weeks, saying the hotel cannot be put to unending hardship due to laxity on part of police.
The court had, however, said the probe agency would be at liberty to visit the suite before filing a compliance report regarding de-sealing of the suite. It had also noted that no offence was found on part of the hotel.
Pushkar was found dead in the suite of the South Delhi hotel on the night of January 17, 2014. The suite was sealed on that night itself for investigation.
An FIR was registered by Delhi police on January 1, 2015 against unknown persons under IPC section 302 (murder).
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