New Delhi:Shashi Tharoor today rejected Opposition demands for his resignation as minister of state for external affairs by asserting that the allegations against him on the IPL issue were “baseless, ill-founded and ill-motivated”.
“The real motive behind the public controversy that has been created around me is to make the Kochi team unviable and to assign this IPL franchise to elsewhere than Kerala,” he said in a statement tabled in the Lok Sabha amid opposition demand for his sacking.
The opposition members stormed the well and were in no mood to listen to the minister. They demanded his immediate removal which prompted speaker Meira Kumar to order Tharoor to lay the statement he was reading out.
Seeking to mount an attack on IPL commissioner Lalit Modi, with whom he is involved in a spat over the ownership of the Kochi IPL team, Tharoor said “the game and the benefits accruing from it should not be retained only by an influential coterie with interests in a few privileged centres”.
He said it was essential in democracy that institutions of interest to the general public are “run openly, rather than restricting their opportunities to a favoured few”.
Tharoor rejected allegations that he had misused his official position.
“No misuse of my official position was involved. The issue has nothing to do with my ministry. As a minister, I was in no position to influence the bid process, let alone its outcome,” he said.
The Lok Sabha witnessed two adjournments following opposition uproar on the issue while the Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day after one adjournment in the morning.