The Delhi High Court chastised BJP leader Subramanian Swamy on Thursday while rejecting his petition that sought a court-monitored investigation into the death of Congress MP Shashi Tharoor’s wife Sunanda Pushkar.
Terming Swamy’s petition a “political interest litigation”, the judges said there was no reason to believe the investigation was being influenced by anyone as alleged by the BJP leader.
“It is extremely unfortunate that the court is being used in this manner,” the bench of justices S Muralidhar and IS Mehta remarked, adding, “courts should be careful in not letting the judicial machinery being used by political personalities for their own purposes”.
The police report, the judges said, does not give impression that the investigation carried out by the Special Investigating Team into the death of Pushkar was being ‘botched up or was under the influence of anyone’.
Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain said the Delhi Police and the Centre do not “subscribe” to Swamy’s views that Tharoor made attempts to influence the government to hush up the case and continued to influence the investigation.
Pushkar was found dead in January 2014 at a hotel room in the national capital. Officials believe suicide to be the most likely reason for her death, with autopsies identifying a deadly cocktail of drugs and alcohol after she passed away.
“This is perhaps a textbook example of political interest litigation dressed up as public interest litigation,” the bench said of Swamy’s petition.
In his plea, the BJP leader said there has been a constant attempt to block the investigation into the death of Pushkar and alleged a case was filed almost a year later and nothing had happened after that.
During arguments the bench asked why Swamy has not put out evidence in support of the allegations made in his petition. “Which part of your petition is based on your personal knowledge and which part is based on belief,” the court asked, saying Swamy cannot make such “sweeping allegation”.
Swamy sought time to file a separate affidavit to give details of the basis of his petition, saying he takes “100% responsibility” for what was said in the petition.
“You said in your affidavit that you have not concealed any information. Today, when we ask you to explain the basis of your allegations, you say you will file another affidavit. That means you have concealed information,” the bench remarked.
Swamy reacted, “This is not my first PIL. I know the how the court works. This is the first time I have been questioned like this. I have been a law minister. What you are asking me tantamount to accusing me of concealing evidence”.
The bench clarified that nothing said in today’s order should be constrained as having said anything on the investigation which is underway. “The special investigating team will take the investigation to its logical conclusion,” the bench said.