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AIIMS rejects forensic doctor’s charges in Sunanda Pushkar case

A day after allegations against former ministers in the United Progressive Alliance regime surfaced for allegedly influencing the postmortem reports of Sunanda Pushkar, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) rejected the contention made by Sudhir Gupta, head of forensic medicine.

“The AIIMS administration categorically denies any such allegation that there was an attempt to pressurise Sudhir Gupta to change the postmortem report,” it said.

Pushkar, wife of Congress leader and the then Union minister Shashi Tharoor, was found dead in a Delhi hotel on January 17 this year. Her body was reportedly found by Tharoor around 8 pm, when he returned to the hotel after attending a meeting of the All India Congress Committee.

Gupta, who headed the panel that conducted Pushkar’s autopsy, had recently written to the health ministry and the chief vigilance commission complaining that he was pressured by top officials to show it as a “natural death”. Gupta, who has also approached the Central Administrative Tribunal, alleged he was being targeted and removed from the position because he did not bow to the pressure and gave a report stating that Sunanda’s death was caused by drug poisoning that could be both suicidal or homicidal.

Following Gupta’s complaint, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan has asked AIIMS to provide a detailed report on the allegations raised by Gupta.

Meanwhile, Tharoor sought a speedy inquiry for a “clear and definitive conclusion” to the cause of death of his wife.

“Upon the tragic loss of my wife Sunanda and from the very beginning, I have requested for a thorough investigation by the authorities to be conducted and concluded rapidly and transparently. The Pushkar family has taken the same view and we have all fully cooperated with the authorities. I reiterate my request to bring this protracted inquiry to a clear and definitive conclusion at the earliest, so as to put all speculation to rest,” Tharoor said in a statement on Facebook.

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