Sack Tharoor, Pushkar`s move is admission of guilt, says BJP
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Last Updated: Sunday, April 18, 2010, 21:08
New Delhi: BJP on Sunday made it clear that Union Minister Shashi Tharoor has to be sacked, notwithstanding his associate Sunanda Pushkar returning her sweat equity of Rs 70 crore to IPL Kochi team, and termed her move as an admission of guilt as it was "stinking corruption".

BJP cited government documents to argue that Sunanda Pushkar was not legally entitled to sweat equity in IPL Kochi team and this was a case of "fraud on company law", committed under the patronage of the Union Minister.

"We demand that the Prime Minister sack Shashi Tharoor immediately. It is a not a case of sweat equity at all. Now it is a case of stinking corruption.... The stain of corruption is not washed by return of bribe money," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad remarked.

Interestingly, BJP recalled the instance of 1993 when Nalini, wife of P Chidambaram-who was then Commerce Minister- bought one lakh shares of a Fairgrowth by paying less than the market price.

"When it was discovered that the market value of these shares is more, Chidambaram had to resign," Prasad said.

Tharoor's statement in Lok Sabha on the IPL issue was also brought up by the main opposition.

"The minister has said on the floor of the House that sweat equity was received. What has the Prime Minister to say on this? This clearly outlines that he (Tharoor) has misused his authority," Prasad said.

The main opposition distributed copies relating to Rendezvous Sports World in a bid to prove that Pushkar could not get sweat equity as she was not a director or employee of the company.

"As per Company Sweat Equity Allocation Rules for unlisted companies, Pushkar could not get sweat equity as it can be given only to a company employee or a director of the company. Moreover, it can be given only after one year of commencement of the company," Prasad explained.

The documents given by BJP show that Rendezvous Cricket Management Private Limited was formed on August 28, 2009 and its name was changed to Rendezvous Sports World Private Limited on March 3, 2010. Prasad argued that, going by any of these dates, this company was not even a year old and could give sweat equity as per the rules.

"It is clear that friend of the minister is the parking bay," Prasad alleged.

Arguing that Tharoor's role "goes against the basic concept of propriety", he said as per these rules, government permission has to be sought if sweat equity is more than Rs 5 crore or 15 per cent of the total share. Further, a valuer has to give a report that the person is worthy of getting the sweat equity.

48-year-old Pushkar, a business executive based in Dubai, made the dramatic offer of quitting RSW and giving up her share shortly after Tharoor had explained to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about his role in "mentoring" the Kochi franchise.

She offered to give up her sweat equity of nearly 19 per cent in the Kochi franchise.

Though 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 the 54-year-old first-time MP from Thiruvananthapuram on the ground that he misused his office to get pecuniary gains for his friend.

Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi told reporters in Kolkata, "The Centre should investigate the entire IPL issue but before that, Tharoor should resign. If he does not resign, he should be sacked."

The BJP leader said the IPL scam had demonstrated how political leaders and businessmen were manipulating the bids by cricket teams.

"This is a serious issue which involves ministers and officials. At a time when the country was facing price rise, Maoist problem and terror threat, they are busy converting IPL into an agency for looting public money. Tharoor is a small fry. There are many other players. A correct picture should be presented before the people," Joshi said.


First Published: Sunday, April 18, 2010, 21:08

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