Sack Tharoor, Pushkar`s move is admission of guilt, says BJP

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.

PTI



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

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