Sunanda Pushkar, dead wife of Indian minister of state, lived for five years in Toronto area

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STORY 3 ITEM 5

SUNANDA Pushkar, the wife of India’s minister of state for human resource development Shashi Tharoor, who was found dead in a five-star hotel in south Delhi last week on Friday (January 17), spent five years in the Toronto area, according to a report in the Toronto Star newspaper.

Pushkar died the day after a twitter spat with Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar over an alleged affair with her husband. Her son form a previous marriage, Shiv Menon, told Indian media on Wednesday that his mother was “too strong” to commit suicide and died due to an unfortunate combination of media stress, tensions and a wrong mix of different medication.

A report by a sub-divisional magistrate, who is probing her death, said Sunanda died of poisoning. Indian media said the investigations are incomplete and would continue.

The Toronto Star report said that Pushkar was a Canadian citizen who moved to Toronto in 1999 with her son, but her stay was “a bit of a mystery.”

Pushkar is said to have moved to Toronto with her son Shiv (from her second marriage) from Dubai with a banker of Pakistani origin reportedly after financial losses. Her second husband returned to India where he allegedly committed suicide in 1997.

Jacob Joseph Puthenparambil, a digital media specialist in Singapore who was chief of staff for Tharoor from early 2009 to June 2010, said that after her husband’s death, her son, who was them 5 or 6, stopped talking because of shock. Pushkar learned that she could get care in Canada for Shiv, who is now an actor living in Mumbai, said the Star.

She told Tehelka, a weekly news magazine in New Delhi, in 2010 that she started life in Canada from scratch, doing odd jobs for some time before getting into the IT sector.

She said that they tied up with companies like Compaq and headhunted in India for them. Then she started working with a San Francisco company called Valley Resources and made good money, enrolling her son in a private school.

She also reportedly worked for Noble House International, a global real estate company. In 2004, a company called Best Homes sent her to Dubai to set up its real estate operations.

The Star said that she bought a house for $325,000 in Markham in December 2000, according to property records, and that the house is still in her name.

“According to a declaration of assets in January 2013, she listed 12 apartments in Dubai: some rented out, some still under construction. The total value of her assets, including jewelry and cars, was approximately $21 million. The declaration is available on the Indian prime minister’s website, the Star reported.

Pushkar, who first met Tharoor in 2009 in Dubai when he was still married to Christa Giles, a Canadian diplomat he had met at the UN, married him in 2010.