Asks Centre to explain whether Ministers can be involved in IPL dealings

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Wednesday said Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor should step down until his name was cleared in the Indian Premier League controversy. It asked the UPA government to explain whether its Ministers could be involved in business dealings in the name of IPL.

In a statement, the Polit Bureau said the alleged involvement of Mr. Tharoor in the IPL franchise for the Kochi team had raised a number of questions. It now transpired that a person associated with him had got 19 per cent free equity worth Rs.70 crore in the company that led the consortium which got the franchise.

The IPL, the CPI(M) said, was not just a sporting event, but a big business enterprise in which big money was involved. “It is highly inappropriate for a Minister in the Union government to be involved in such murky dealings. It is incumbent upon Mr. Tharoor to step down from office until his name is cleared of any unethical or irregular behaviour,” the statement said.

The Polit Bureau said the government should probe the source of certain funds flowing into the tournament and reconsider whether any tax exemptions or concessions were justified for this commercial enterprise.

“Untenable”

CPI national secretary D. Raja also suggested an inquiry into the reports and demanded Mr. Tharoor's resignation, saying his continuance in the government had become “untenable.”

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