Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor - a profile

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Sunanda P Tharoor, wife of Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, was found dead at a five-star hotel in Delhi

New Delhi:  When Sunanda Pushkar wed Shashi Tharoor in a traditional Kerala ceremony in 2010, every detail was painstakingly documented by the media.

The Tharoors appeared to be madly in love and were given to much public display of affection. It was the third marriage for both.

The daughter of an Army man, Lt Col PN Dass, Sunanda Pushkar, 52, belonged to the small town of Sopore in the Kashmir Valley. She graduated from a Srinagar college and worked for some time as a receptionist at the city's Centaur hotel.

Sunanda met her first husband, Sanjay Raina, a Kashmiri Pandit, when she was still in college. The marriage ended in divorce and some years later, she married Sujith Menon, a Keralite and a close friend of her former husband.

In the early 1990s, the couple shifted to Dubai, where Sunanda worked with an ad agency and soon became part of the Dubai social circuit. Eventually, she started her own event management firm.

Sujith Menon died in a road accident in 1997 in India.

Sunanda stayed on in Dubai, bringing up her young son as a single parent while struggling as a small-time event manager. She attempted a move to Canada, but soon returned to Dubai and began working with a real estate firm.

Sunanda and Shashi Tharoor reportedly met for the first time at a party in 2009.

A few months before their fairytale Kerala wedding, Mr Tharoor was forced to resign from his first ministerial post after allegations that Sunanda had been given free stake worth Rs 50 crore in a new Kerala team for the cash-rich Indian Premier League.

Opposition parties alleged that the "sweat equity" was actually a payment to Mr Tharoor for behind-the-scene services for arranging the sale of the team in his home state to a consortium.

The couple vehemently denied it.

When the BJP's Narendra Modi called Sunanda Shashi Tharoor's 50 crore girlfriend, Mr Tharoor shot back that his wife was priceless. Sunanda pulled no punches in her attack on Mr Modi.

She often made headlines. Like when she slapped a man at the Thiruvananthapuram airport in 2012 alleging that he had misbehaved with her. Last year, she spoke out strongly for the rights of Kashmiri women and on Article 370.

On Wednesday, in a series of tweets, Mrs Tharoor accused Pakistani reporter Mehr Tarar of "stalking" her husband.

That evening, she told NDTV's Group Editor Barkha Dutt that she planned to seek a divorce and was "heart-broken", details not reported by NDTV because it was seen as a private matter. In a phone interview yesterday, she did not refer to a divorce but reiterated her charges against Ms Tarar.

The couple then issued a statement which said they are "happily married" and "intend to stay that way." (Read)

The statement added that Mrs Tharoor was unwell and sought privacy from the media.

She checked into the Leela Palaces hotel in Delhi on Thursday morning, reportedly because her house was being painted. On Friday evening, her husband returned from an all-day Congress meet to find her dead on the bed of their suite. (Read)

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