'Very upsetting': Indian politician Shashi Tharoor speaks out about wife's death charges

A high-profile Indian politician says accusations he was involved in the death of his wife four years ago are "shocking" and "preposterous".

Former UN diplomat Shashi Tharoor is in the country for the Auckland Writers' Festival, having authored 17 books, but only days ago was making international headlines for a different reason.

Media outlets around the world are reporting Tharoor has been charged with aiding his wife Sunanda Pushkar's death, after she was found dead in a Delhi hotel in January 2014. But Tharoor told The AM Show Delhi police only "decided there's something to be answered" in the lead-up to the election the following year.

"The poor girl sadly passed away in circumstances that lent themselves to lurid speculation," he said.

"But in fact, there is no evidence whatsoever that there was any foul play, murder, suicide, all the stuff the headlines talked about."

On Monday Delhi police filed a 3000-page charge sheet against Tharoor under sections of the Indian Penal Code that relate to abetment of suicide and cruelty against wife.

"These are not charges that are going to stand up in court," he says.

"And in fact, charges aren't charges unless they're officially framed in a court. So we will fight them - these are preposterous claims."

Tharoor says he and Ms Pushkjar's families are "victims of an incompetent post mortem".

"[It] couldn't figure out why. This is what we'd all like to know.

"I mean, she was young enough. She had been complaining of various ailments and she had unfortunately a bit of an addiction to painkillers and used to take all sorts of pills, which perhaps interacted.

"And police and the post mortem doctors couldn't find anything. So that's where the speculation started. They spoke about the possibility of poisoning but no poisons were found."

He says the whole situation was "very very upsetting".

"I wasn't allowed to mourn in peace. Fortunately, her family, her son, brothers, have all stood by me. They don't suspect anything of me."

He says developing a thick skin is "part of the price one pays for being in this hot house", referring to politics.

"It certainly has been a nasty business."