The controversy surrounding Shashi Tharoor over the IPL issue may have hogged the headlines during Manmohan Singh’s eight-day visit to the U.S. and Brazil but the Prime Minister has refused to be drawn in to a public discussion on the charges against his junior foreign minister.

“Such things are part of the ups and downs of politics”, he told reporters on board his special flight when asked what he thought of the entire issue.

According to senior officials, the Prime Minister had yet to receive a detailed report into the matter. They said he was clueless about what exactly the Indian Premier League was, let alone how it functioned.

The officials said that so far Dr. Singh had taken a benign view of Mr. Tharoor’s spats, even though he had embarrassed the government.

According to a highly-placed source, Dr. Singh had privately told the junior minister in Riyadh last month -- in the presence of senior ministers and officials -- not to discuss Pakistan with journalists when he had sought a brief from the Prime Minister. “The PM was very clear that he intended to raise the Pakistan issue with the Saudi king but did not want anyone talking to the media about it”, the source, who requested anonymity, told The Hindu. “Not only did Shashi Tharoor not listen to what the PM said, he made matters worse because the media ended up getting confused about our policy on mediation”. More than what he said then, the source added, he really had no business speaking to the media.

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