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DEAN NELSON, THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
Monday, March 3rd, 2014
In this photograph taken on March 12, 2012 ex-junior minister for external affairs and Congress Party’s Member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor (R) is pictured with his wife Sunanda Pushkar. PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images
New Delhi — The Pakistani journalist accused of an affair with an Indian minister has said she is “shattered” by the death of his wife.
Mehr Tarar was accused by Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor, the wife of India’s human resources minister, Shashi Tharoor, of having an affair with her husband.
Mrs Tharoor accused Miss Tarar of having a “rip roaring affair” with her husband, stalking him incessantly. She also accused Miss Tarar of being a Pakistani spy.
Despite a joint statement last week claiming the Tharoors remained happily married, staff at their home said they had argued continually for 72 hours. Mrs Tharoor was “distraught” about the alleged affair, a friend reportedly said yesterday, and is believed to have taken an overdose of antidepressants hours later.
But Miss Tarar strongly denied any affair with Mr Tharoor or that she was a spy. She said she had had a brief, platonic friendship with him – mainly via email – and that the controversy and death had been caused by unfounded paranoia. Mr Tharoor had loved his wife like “a romantic saga hero” she said. “Nothing meant more to him than making her happy.”
They had become “virtual” friends on Twitter after she met and interviewed the minister for a profile in her newspaper in Spring last year. The flattering article comparing him to Shah Rukh Khan, Bollywood’s leading heart-throb.
Mrs Tharoor become suspicious after reading the article and asked her husband to break off all contact with her, Miss Tarar said. An email sent to Mr Tharoor by Miss Tarar on July 28 supports her claim that they were just friends.
India’s Human Resources Minister Shashi Tharoor (C) sits with other relatives and friends alongside the body of his wife Sunanda Pushkar at a cremation centre in New Delhi on January 18, 2014. SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images
“Friendship between a man and a woman will always be labelled incorrectly. And even the woman who’s the love of your life will doubt your word against very circumstantial evidence,” she wrote. Mr Tharoor later stopped following the journalist on Twitter to reassure his wife.
Last week the row was reignited when Mrs Tharoor posted messages in which Miss Tarar appears to say “I love you, Shashi Tharoor”.
Miss Tarar said: “I have no idea where she got what from, or if she made the whole thing up. Nothing she tweeted came from me. A woman I never met attacked me on Twitter, a fight began, and then she died. I’m shattered.”
“Shashi loved Sunanda, and he made sure she knew it,” she