The BJP on Sunday termed the allocation of “sweat equity” to Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor's friend Sunanda Pushkar a case of “stinking corruption” and asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to immediately remove Mr. Tharoor from the Council of Minsters.
At a press conference here, senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad exhibited “documentary evidence” to claim that the “sweat equity” offered to Ms. Pushkar was directly linked to Mr. Tharoor, and demanded his immediate sacking.
On reports of Ms. Pushkar giving up her sweat equity voluntarily, Mr. Prasad said her offer did not change things. “Stain of corruption is not wiped off by returning the money. It is now confirmed that she is a front for Mr. Tharoor,” he alleged.
Quoting from documents, which he claimed were obtained from the Company Law Board, Mr. Prasad said that under Section 79 (a) of the Company Act, sweat equity was allocated only to employees or the director of a company.
Mr. Prasad said:
“Another rule states that a company can make such an offer only after having been in operation for more than one year and lastly, if it is a listed company then it has to seek approval from the market regulator SEBI and if unlisted then it is guided by the rules of the Union government on the issue.
“The company, Rendezvous Sports World, came into being on March 3, 2010 and earlier was known as Rendezvous Cricket Management, which started operations on August 28, 2009. Till February 25, 2010, she was not even a director of the company. Neither there was a resolution by the company's Board for allotment of sweat equity to her.
“There is no Government of India approval for such an exercise and it is clear that Ms. Pushkar was acting as the parking lot and Mr. Tharoor was the real beneficiary.
“The surrounding suspicious circumstances outline that he [Mr. Tharoor] abused his authority for undue enrichment for his friend [Ms. Pushkar].
“This is a clear case of corruption — directly and under the authority of the Union Minister. It is a blatant violation of law; it is a fraud on the company laws, it is a fraud on the rules, and the most important point that it is being done under the patronage of a Union Minister.
“I wish to remind the Prime Minister that when he was the Finance Minister in the P.V. Narasimha Rao regime, something similar took place and fingers were pointed at the then Commerce Minister P. Chidambaram for allotment of shares of certain company against his wife's name even after payment of money. Mr. Chidambaram had to resign his position and set an example. It is time for the Prime Minister to seek the same of Mr. Tharoor in this blatant case of corruption.”