New Delhi: Minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor, who is embroiled in a row over the ownership of IPL’s Kochi franchise, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh apparently on 18 April to explain his position on the issue.
The meeting took place hours before the Congress Core Group is scheduled to decide the issue of Tharoor’s continuance in the government amid a clamour from the opposition ranks for his removal.
Tharoor is understood to have explained his position to the Prime Minister in the wake of allegations that he helped his friend Sunanda Pushkar acquire a sweat equity in the Kochi IPL franchise.
The Congress Core Group headed by Gandhi, who is also the UPA chairperson, would be meeting at the Prime Minister’s residence to take a call on Tharoor’s fate this evening, party sources said. Singh returned from his two-nation tour yesterday.
Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, defence minister A K Antony, home minister P Chidambaram and political secretary to Congress president Ahmed Patel are other members of the key group which deals with major issues.
The party has already distanced itself from Tharoor on the IPL issue, saying it was for him to explain. The minister’s statement in the Lok Sabha on 16 April did not appear to have changed the position of the party.
The controversy centres around the allocation of sweat equity valued at Rs70 crore by the IPL Kochi franchise to Pushkar. However, Tharoor has denied the charge that he intended to get any financial gain for him or his friend.
The opposition is gunning for the removal of 54-year-old first-time MP from Thiruvananthapuram on the ground that he misused his office to get pecuniary gains for his friend.
Senior leaders L K Advani and Prakash Karat joined the chorus for Tharoor’s sacking on 17 April.