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Swamy's plea in Sunanda's death: SC questions maintainability

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy was today asked by the Supreme Court to satisfy it on the aspect of maintainability of his plea seeking an SIT probe into the death of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor's wife Sunanda Pushkar.

The apex court observed this while hearing Swamy's appeal against the Delhi High Court's October 26 last year's verdict dismissing his plea for a probe by a court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT) into Pushkar's death.

Pushkar was found dead under mysterious circumstances in a suite of a five-star hotel in Delhi on the night of January 17, 2014.

"Before going into the merits, we need to be satisfied on maintainability (of the plea)," a bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy told Swamy.

Swamy told the bench that when the matter relating to the probe into Indian Premier League (IPL) was going on, the issue of Pushkar's "unnatural death" came to fore.

"It took one year for Delhi Police to lodge an FIR. The autopsy report says it was an unnatural death. The FIR says it was a murder. Nothing has been done," he told the court, adding that he had thereafter moved the high court.

To this, the bench asked "what is the conclusion of the police?"

Swamy then contended that the FIR said it was an unnatural death based on the post-mortem report.

"The police must have come to a conclusion by now. The question is of maintainability of the plea," the bench said, after which Swamy said it was a matter of "public interest".

On the issue of maintainability, the BJP leader said he had appeared in many cases involving politicians, including former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister late J Jayalalithaa.

The bench thereafter referred to the conclusions arrived at by the high court on Swamy's plea and said, "in view of the findings by the Delhi High Court, we need to be satisfied on the aspect of maintainability".

The bench asked him to first argue on maintainability of the plea and posted the matter for hearing after three weeks.

The high court had last year rejected Swamy's plea for a court-monitored SIT probe into Pushkar's death and termed his public interest litigation (PIL) as a "textbook example of a political interest litigation".

Swamy, in his plea before the high court, had alleged that the police had "botched up" the probe and accused Tharoor of "interfering" in the investigation as a minister in the erstwhile UPA regime and later.

The division bench of the high court had chastised the BJP leader and his lawyer, who was a co-petitioner before it, for making "sweeping allegations" in the petition against Tharoor and the Delhi Police without giving any basis for such accusations.

When the high court had questioned the source based on which he had made the allegations, Swamy and his lawyer had said they would file affidavits to reply to the court's query.

However, the high court had rejected their offer, saying it appeared that they had concealed information pertinent to the case which they ought to have disclosed when they had filed the petition.

The high court had also said that Swamy ought to have mentioned his political affiliation as well as that of Tharoor in his plea as these facts were important to the adjudication of the case.

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First Published: Jan 29 2018 | 5:05 PM IST

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