Media just turned me into a `slut` in IPL row: Sunanda
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Last Updated: Friday, April 23, 2010, 20:30
  
New Delhi: Sunanda Pushkar, who was at the centre of the IPL Kochi controversy that led to Shashi Tharoor's exit from government, says the media just turned her into a 'slut', some kind of 'brainless eye candy'.

Dubbing as a "medieval witch hunt" the media scrutiny on her after the controversy raged, Sunanda said, "I have always been proud that I have made it alone--on my own terms--in a man’s world. And here, in one minute, without bothering to find out any facts the media just turned me into a slut, into some kind of brainless eye candy! I don’t know why people find it so hard to understand this."

The 48-year old marketing professional said she met Tharoor two years back but had developed "closeness" in the past five months only.

"We are certainly close now, but that closeness only developed less than five months ago. I am very proud to know him because, most of all, he is a good and honest man," Sunanda said in an interview to Tehelka magazine. She met Tharoor two years ago through a common friend.

Sunanda came into public spotlight when IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi tweeted revealing her stake in IPL Kochi and questioned the merit on which she was given sweat equity worth Rs 70 crore in the new franchisee.

Modi had also alleged that Tharoor had asked him not to reveal the names of the team franchisee.

While the controversy led to Tharoor's exit as Minister of State for External Affairs, Sunanda, who is based in Dubai, returned her sweat equity.

Claiming that Tharoor has been "hounded out, for now - ironically - for not being dirty enough", Sunanda suggested that he was comparable to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi and said these three men gave hope to millions of Indians across the world that even clean men can join politics.

Denying that she was a proxy for Tharoor, she said "Can’t I make my own money? He has not been corrupt for so many years for which I am proud to be his friend-- why would he be corrupt now? Just look around you in India and see the corruption in government, in industry, in every crevice of public life and they call this corruption!".

Candidly admitting she enjoys "making money", Sunanda said, "I think there's absolutely nothing wrong with a woman being ambitious. I like cars and watches but I don't need any man to get anything for me. My kick is to buy it myself. I like to earn my own keep.

"I would be very happy to set up home with a man I loved, but I would not marry a man just because he can buy me diamonds. I am not judgemental about women who do that, I am just saying I wouldn't. So when people say I got into all this as a front for Shashi, chasing influence and money, it savages my soul. What else can I say?"

On her introduction to IPL, she said she was in touch with Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) Karim and Ali Murani, whom she was generally giving ideas about marketing and packaging of the team. However, since her son was still in school, the things did not go any further.

On the sweat equity in Kochi IPL, Sunanda said, "I did agree to offer my skills as a marketing consultant. I have a knack for it. I also helped them raise a lot of money. But there's been absolutely no exchange of money between us.

"I don't even have the shares. It's more like a promissory note with absolutely no guarantee that the shares will amount to anything".

Sunanda also expressed optimism that this phase will also pass. "I am sure there is a larger lesson to be learnt and I am sure I am going to grow from this. And mark my words, I will grow, I will come out of this a bigger and better person. I can feel it in my bones."

PTI


First Published: Friday, April 23, 2010, 20:30


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