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Updated: April 16, 2010 01:10 IST

Tharoor calls on Sonia as Congress prepares to face IPL issue in House

Special Correspondent
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Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor arrives at the Parliament House on Thursday. Tharoor met Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday evening. Photo: V.V. Krishnan
Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor arrives at the Parliament House on Thursday. Tharoor met Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday evening. Photo: V.V. Krishnan

The Congress is preparing to face the opposition onslaught against it on the Shashi Tharoor-Indian Premier League affair with the Left and the Bharatiya Janata Party making it known that this subject would be their agenda in Parliament on Friday.

Even as there were news agency reports of income-tax officials conducting enquiries at IPL offices in Mumbai, highly placed government sources suggested that the government might want to get to the bottom of this cricket-big money nexus.

In the capital, efforts were on by senior Congress leaders to find out from the Minister of State for External Affairs the extent of his involvement. A senior Congressman said matters would be clear only after the Prime Minister's return from abroad on Saturday.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi sent for Mr. Tharoor on Thursday evening.

Senior Congress leaders said it would not be incorrect to assume that Mr. Tharoor gave her a personal explanation. He already made public statements to the effect that there was no wrongdoing on his part and that he had acted only to bring cricket to Kerala.

As MPs walked into Parliament in the morning, Mr. Tharoor had a meeting with Leader of the Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister A.K. Antony. He had met Mr. Mukherjee the previous night also.

Even as allegations have surfaced against Mr. Tharoor, charges have been made on the functioning of the IPL. Satyajit Gaekwad, co-owner of the IPL's Kochi franchise, told journalists at Parliament House that the Kochi team was being targeted under pressure from the Adani group and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who wanted an IPL franchise for Ahmedabad. The Gujarat government has since denied this.

The BJP continued to demand that Mr. Tharoor be sacked. At the same time, some senior leaders said there was “nothing wrong” if IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi's relatives had stakes in Rajasthan Royals “because he is not a public servant and the Prevention of Corruption Act did not apply to him.”

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