Congress washes its hands off Pawar over IPL row

New Delhi: As Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar found himself in the midst of IPL controversy, Congress on Friday left him to fend for himself amid opposition demands for his resignation.

“Sharad Pawar is a valuable ally. These questions you have to put to him in all fairness,” Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi told reporters in response to a volley of questions over BJP demand for the NCP leader’s resignation from the ministry.

The BJP demand came as Pawar and his daughter Supriya Sule, Member of Parliament, faced allegations that they were stakeholders in a company that made a failed IPL bid for the Pune team.

Pawar has denied his or his family’s association with the bid and said the Citi Corp company’s Managing Director Aniruddha Deshpande had done so in his individual capacity.

Asked whether any top executive of a company could bid for IPL in his individual category or if some changes have been made in the eligibility criteria, Singhvi said “I am not going to change my comment. You have to ask the person concerned. Why don’t you ask him?”

The Congress spokesman refused to say anything further, pointing out the probe by the government was already on.

On Opposition demands for JPC probe into IPL affairs, he said “we are not surprised by these demands”.

Asked whether Congress considered Pawar innocent, Singhvi said, “I am not going to say what you want to say.”

He parried a question when asked whether Congress wants Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek clarification from Pawar.

When pointed out that Shashi Tharoor had resigned as Minister of State for External Affairs when similar allegations were levelled against him, the Congress spokesman said, “there is no comparison”.



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