In what was seen as a last-ditch effort to save Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor from getting the sack, Sunanda Pushkar, his executive friend said in a statement, that was read out in Dubai by her lawyer Ashish Mehta, that she was “deeply distressed at the vile and malicious reporting of recent days surrounding her role in Rendezvous, the successful bidders for the Kerala IPL team.''
The statement, accessed by The Hindu, said: “As a woman professional, I am shocked to find how easily certain parties with vested interest questioned my credentials merely because I am a woman. I, therefore, voluntarily offer to return to Rendezvous the sweat equity they had offered me.''
Mr. Tharoor had denied the charge that he had any financial stake in the Kochi team and claimed that he was only “mentoring'' it being an MP from Kerala.
Mr. Tharoor, MP from Thiruvananthapuram, was once the country's candidate for the position of the secretary-general of the United Nations.
The Opposition on Sunday night hailed Shashi Tharoor's resignation as Union Minister saying his position had become “untenable” in the wake of the Kochi IPL ownership controversy.
“Tharoor's position had become untenable and it was only appropriate that he resigned. There was so much evidence against him. The lady giving back her equity does not absolve him of the charges,” said BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman.
CPI leader D. Raja said the exit of Mr. Tharoor became inevitable and the Congress should have taken a decision long back when the controversy exploded.
The reported decision of Ms. Sunanda surrendering her stake is itself “an admission of guilt,” he said.
The entire IPL functioning and its accountability needed to be probed and the role of the Sports Ministry will have to be redefined so that a regulator is created to monitor the IPL, Mr. Raja demanded.
Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan said the government had taken the “correct moral stand.”
“The Congress has nothing to do with the IPL. It was an issue of an individual Minister. The party has acted with the utmost restraint. It went through a very decent process by which it collected facts and a final view was taken by the Prime Minister,” she said.