‘Not illegal to render service to CWG Youth games’

Former Union Minister said consultancy services were rendered between September 2008 and January 2009 before he entered public life.

Thiruvananthapuram: Former Union Minister Shashi
Tharoor on Monday denied that his appointment as an international
consultant to advise the Commonwealth Games Organising
Committee for Youth Games involved any irregularities as the
services rendered predated his entry into public life.

In a rejoinder to the report that Shunglu Committee probing
irregularities in conduct of CWG finding irregularities in his
role as consultant, he said there was nothing illegal, unethical
immoral or improper about his rendering paid services at that
time to a nationally-supported international endeavour and for
having been officially, formally and legally paid for it.

Tharoor said he had cooperated with Shunglu committee
investigators who approached him and made email records of his
work available. They did not ask any follow up questions.

"I am therefore disappointed by the needless controversy,
based on misleading and partial reports sought to be stirred
up on the matter. I trust the above comprehensive clarification
will place this issue at rest," the Congress MP from
Thiruvananthapuram said in a statement here.

He said his association with CWG as consultant had nothing
to do with his present career as an MP, but related totally to
an earlier phase of his life when he was a private citizen
setting out on an independent stint as an international
consultant after a life-long career in the UN. He said he was
working out of New York and Dubai then and had no relationship
to the Government or with any aspect of Indian public life.

He said while pursuing an independent professional career
he was officially approached by CWG officials to extend his
consultancy services to promote the event, to which he agreed
as part of his professional engagements at the time.

"They felt the active advocacy of a person of my stature and
international reputation would be an asset to the Games and I
was glad to oblige," he said.

Tharoor said all services contracted for were performed
to the satisfaction of organisers and associates.

He said he had also gone well beyond duties expected in
supporting, advocating and promoting the Games and
specifically the Youth Games, the crucial event preceding it.

"I played an active leadership role in promoting
`greening` the Games and advocating an environmentally
responsible event. I did not spare any effort or commitment to
the cause for which I was engaged and believe I lent my
stature to the Games in the most efficient and effective
manner, going beyond the requirements of the contract."

For these efforts he was officially, formally and legally
paid. At no stage did any organising committee member mention
the slightest dissatisfaction with his efforts, Tharoor said.

He said on moving to India and entering public life
here he closed his old office and discontinued any and all
remunerative activities related to Government institutions.

Tharoor said he legally retained his foreign bank
accounts as all former NRIs are entitled to do under RBI rules
and there is no impropriety in doing so.

He said consultancy services were rendered between
September 2008 and January 2009 before he entered public life
and he did not approach the CWG and it was they (organisers)
who sought his services to have him lent his stature to
promoting the event.

"I was a consultant for international and national
engagement and promotion, mainly of Commonwealth Youth Games
and only incidentally of CWG itself, since I ceased
consultancy work nearly two years before CWG itself took
place," Tharoor said.

Tharoor said he had donated a considerable portion of
time and effort, including on occasion using his personal

He said he attended preparatory meetings and CWYG and
addressed various audiences in support of the Games, including
assembled athletes from around the world in Pune on the eve of

Tharoor held the value of his endorsement of the Games
could not be reduced merely to days he attended or chaired
meetings, since his advocacy had an impact in its own right.

He said the consultancy fee charged was a token sum, in
conformity with rates the OC was prepared to offer and the
total sum paid (USD 30,000 less taxes) was far below the fee
he used to command at the time, even just to make a single

"Actual payments were made after a considerable period of
time, much beyond the usual time frame for making payments for
such consultancy services in the international field, but I
made no demands upon the organisers since the fee was not the
principal motive for my involvement," Tharoor said.


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