‘Not illegal to render service to CWG Youth games’
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Last Updated: Monday, June 20, 2011, 20:26
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 travel.

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 CWYG.

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 speech.

"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.


First Published: Monday, June 20, 2011, 20:26

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