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Stepson of Indian minister says his mother's death from stress, wrong medication - not suicide

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NEW DELHI - The wife of a prominent Indian politician died from stress and the wrong medication — not suicide, her son said in media reports Wednesday, the latest twist in a case that has captivated the country.

The death of Sunanda Pushkar has gotten front-page coverage and top billing on India's 24-hour news channels since her body was found in a luxury hotel in New Delhi last week, a couple days after she apparently tweeted that her husband, Shashi Tharoor, a top government official, was having an affair with a Pakistani journalist.

She acknowledged sending some tweets in a rambling and often-contradictory telephone interview with an Indian TV network, but also said her account had been hacked.

Her son, Shiv Menon, said Pushkar was too strong to commit suicide, as many Indian newspapers have speculated.

"It was an unfortunate combination of media stress, tensions and a wrong mix of different medications," Menon said in a statement released Wednesday by the Indian media. He also said Tharoor would never have harmed his mother.

"They were very much in love, despite occasional differences, which they always overcame," Menon said.

The India media, quoting investigators, have reported that Pushkar died of an overdose of prescription medications. Police were still investigating whether the death was deliberate or accidental.

Tharoor, the junior minister for human resource development, was U.N. undersecretary-general for communications and public information under former Secretary-General Kofi Annan. His name was among those considered for the top U.N. post in 2006, when Ban Ki-moon was voted in.

In 2009, Tharoor won a seat in India's Parliament and later became a minister in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government.

The couple married in 2010 and frequently figured in the society pages of newspapers and on social media. Menon is Pushkar's son from a previous marriage.

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