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India politician's wife found dead just days after Twitter spat with husband's 'stalker'

Reuters

Sunanda Puskhar Tharoor and her husband Shashi Tharoor celebrate their wedding on August 22, 2010. The 52-year-old was found dead in a New Delhi hotel room on Friday.

NEW DELHI - The wife of an Indian government minister was found dead in a New Delhi hotel room on Friday, days after she became embroiled in a Twitter spat with a woman she accused of stalking her husband.

It was not immediately clear how Sunanda Pushkar Tharoor, wife of junior human resource development minister Shashi Tharoor, had died, Delhi police spokesman Rajan Bhagat said.

Police said the body has been sent for a post-mortem.

"She was lying in bed," the minister's personal assistant, Abhinav Kumar, told reporters outside the luxury hotel. "There were no signs of any foul play or any struggle. She had no sign of poisoning or anything."

Tharoor was taken to hospital early on Saturday after he complained of chest pain. A doctor said he was stable.

His wife Sunanda, 52, earlier this week accused Pakistan-based journalist Mehr Tarar of stalking her husband in a series of Twitter posts.

Sunanda said she had gone into her husband's Twitter account and put out private messages that she alleged Tarar had sent to her husband over Blackberry Messenger.

Tarar denied she was having an affair with the Indian minister and said she would sue Sunanda for defamation. The scandal was splashed on the front pages of newspapers and went viral on social media.

Tharoor, a former U.N. diplomat who has more than 2 million Twitter followers, made no comment at that time.

On Thursday, the Indian couple issued a statement saying they were distressed by the controversy caused by unauthorized use of their Twitter accounts. They said they were happily married and intended to stay that way.

Tharoor, 57, who is also the author of several books, married Sunanda in 2010, in a third marriage for both.

Tharoor's aides said the couple had checked into the luxury hotel this week because of renovation work at his Delhi bungalow.

On Friday, he left the hotel room to attend a session of the ruling Congress party in the capital but returned late in the day to find the door locked. It was forced open to reveal the body of his wife.

Tarar said she was shocked by the death. "Oh my God...," she wrote in a Twitter post. "This is too awful for words. So tragic I don't know what to say. Rest in peace."

Tharoor has stirred controversy in the past by posting a message that he would travel "cattle class" following reports about his lavish lifestyle.

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