Congress today rejected as absurd the BJP demand that Union Minister Shashi Tharoor be sacked over the IPL controversy and said it was up to the cricket board to decide on allegations of impropriety over his role in the Kochi IPL team.
Congress sources however said there was some unease in the party over the minister of state for external affairs landing himself in another controversy that could embarrass it.
Congress spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said Mr. Tharoor’s role in having a IPL team from Kochi was not an “embarrassment” and his desire to have such a team for his state was not “unwarranted“.
“Not an embarrassment.....As an elected member from Kerala, his (Tharoor) desire to have team from there is not illogical or unwarranted,” said Ahmed when asked if the minister’s involvement has been an embarrassment to the Congress.
Observing that Kerala was the only Southern State not having an IPL team, he said all other Southern states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have such teams.
“The demand of the BJP is absurd....We appreciate the concern of Tharoor to have a team of IPL from Kerala, there is nothing wrong in it,” Ahmed said. The BJP had also demanded a CBI inquiry into Tharoor’s alleged “misuse” of authority for “securing” the investment of his friend Sunanda Pushkar in the Kochi IPL team.
The Spokesman said as far as financial issues were concerned it was up to the cricket administration to comment upon. “We are not concerned with the financial aspect of the issue. Mr. Tharoor himself has denied any involvement financially with the team. These are the issues which the administration of the cricket body should comment upon.”
On the allegations that Mr. Tharoor called IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi not to reveal details of the owners of the consortium that won the franchise for IPL Kochi, Mr. Ahmed said as public representatives, ministers call several people it should not be taken as otherwise.