Sunanda death: FBI report rejects ‘polonium poisoning’

RSTV Bureau
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor with his late wife Sunanda Pushkar (Photo: PTI/File)

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor with his late wife Sunanda Pushkar (Photo: PTI/File)

Radiation levels in Sunanda Pushkar’s viscera samples were “within the standard safety norms”, Delhi Police said on Wednesday as they shared the findings of an FBI report that virtually rules out the theory of ‘polonium poisoning’ causing her death.

Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi said that the report from the Washington D.C.-based laboratory would soon be handed to a medical board for it to be examined before further action is taken on the high-profile case.

“I understand that the report has been received. The FBI lab had conducted analysis of various substances. And this should give an indication (as to the reason behind her death) once the doctors go through the report,” Bassi told the Press.

Asked about the radiation levels in the samples, the Delhi Police Commissioner said that it was “within the standard safety norms”. He added that the findings would have to be “correlated with the post-mortem report”.

According to sources, the FBI report, received nine months after the samples were sent for examination, has named the alleged poison that led to Sunanda’s death two year’s ago.

The viscera samples were sent to the FBI lab in Washington in February to determine the kind of poison that killed her after an AIIMS medical board identified poisoning as the reason behind her death but did not mention any specific name.

Reacting to the developments, AIIMS forensic head Sudhir Gupta stuck to his opinion that poisoning was the cause of death.

However, he added that the “domain is much more large” when specifically asked whether Polonium-210, a radioactive isotope, had caused the death.

“There are findings that confirm that the death was due to poisoning. We concluded by eliminating the other causes of her death,” Gupta said.

Sunanda was found dead inside her suite at a five-star hotel here on January 17 last year, a day after she was involved in a spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar on Twitter over the latter’s alleged affair with Tharoor, the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram.