Two days after Sunanda Pushkar, 52, wife of India's union minister Shashi Tharoor, took to Twitter to accuse a Pakistani journalist of stalking her husband, she was found dead in her hotel room in Delhi on Friday, Jan. 17.
Her body was discovered by Tharoor on the bed of her suite at the plush Leela Palaces Hotel in Delhi after he returned from an all-day conference on Friday. The couple was staying at the hotel while their house was under renovation.
Until the autopsy is conducted and the real cause of death is determined, police are treating it as an unnatural death. However, officials confirmed there were no external injuries on her body. No suicide note was found either.
Her death comes just two days after an ugly Twitter scandal where she used her husband's Twitter account to post private messages allegedly exchanged between him and a Pakistani journalist, Mehr Tarar.
On Wednesday, Jan. 15, a series of curious tweets appeared from Shashi Tharoor's account which has over 2 million followers. The tweets appeared to be direct messages from Mehr Tarar expressing her love for Tharoor.
After the tweets appeared on Tharoor's timeline, Tarar, whose Twitter bio describes her as a mom and a Pakistani columnist, tweeted this:
The incriminating tweets were soon deleted, and Tharoor claimed his account had been hacked.
However, Pushkar told the Economic Times that she had posted the tweets from Tharoor's account and that the accounts were not hacked. She also accused Tarar of being a Pakistani spy.
"Our accounts have not been hacked and I have been sending out these tweets. I cannot tolerate this. This is a Pakistani woman who is an ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) agent, and she is stalking my husband. And you know how men are. He is flattered by the attention."
Initially, Tarar believed that Tharoor's account was hacked and asked Twitter to check.
But as Pushkar continued to publicly accuse Tarar of stalking her husband and being an ISI agent, Tarar became more vocal, calling Pushkar a "woman clearly out of her mind."
She reiterated her open admiration of Tharoor on Twitter.
She also said she was a "huge fan" of Tharoor's books, politics, speeches and views.
She said she refused to respond to the personal attacks because this wasn't a "Jerry Springer reality show."
Tarar denied all the accusations and called Pushkar's behavior "the lowest form of sickness ever."
She refered to Pushkar as a "blonde" whose "aqal" (brain) was weaker than her grammar.
However, Pushkar continued to tweet accusations about Tarar from her personal Twitter account.
Pushkar claimed that she and Tharoor were "very happy together." She also referred to "vultures" pouncing on him during her time away for treatment of an illness.
The next day, Jan 16., Pushkar and Tharoor issued a joint Facebook statement saying they were "happily married and intended to remain that way." They also referred to her illness, which according to latest reports was lupus.
However, Pushkar continued to tweet about the incident, and level accusations directly at Tarar.
She alleged that she had all of Tarar's BlackBerry messages to her husband and other men as well.
Tarar called Pushkar's accusations an "imaginary personal thing."
One of Pushkar's last tweets from her account was a response to a follower's get well soon message. She said she had "many issues diagnosed" at the hospital and that she would "go with joy."
After news of Pushkar's death broke, Tarar tweeted these two messages.
As the media frenzy around Pushkar's tragic and controversial death brewed in India, Ishaan Tharoor, the minister's son from his first marriage, who is a senior editor at TIME, requested everyone to respect his family's privacy.
However, speculation and discussions surrounding Pushkar's death continued to abound on social media.
Pushkar and Tharoor were married in 2010; it was the third marriage for both. A few months before their wedding, Tharoor was forced to resign from his first ministerial post after he and Pushkar were embroiled in an Indian cricket team controversy.
The couple was no stranger to controversy. Only a few days before the Twitter scandal, Pushkar reportedly accosted a journalist who her husband was speaking to at a private dinner party.
Tasneem Nashrulla is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Tasneem Nashrulla at email@example.com.
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