Tabling a statement in the Lok Sabha on Friday, Shashi Tharoor, minister of state for external affairs, described the allegations against him as “ill founded, ill motivated and insulting”.
The opposition, however, remained unmoved by the minister’s clarification and continued to insist on his resignation, forcing both Houses to adjourn till Monday.
<b1>Tharoor has been embroiled in a raging controversy over his association with the Kochi team franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and the sweat equity that Kochi offered to a lady friend of his, Sunanda Pushkar.
“I have neither invested nor received a rupee for my mentorship of the team,” said Tharoor in his statement, which the uproar in the Lok Sabha prevented him from reading out. “Irrespective of my personal relationships with any of the consortium members, I have not benefitted, and do not intend to.”
“My ministerial position was altogether irrelevant to the bid and so could not have been used or misused to ensure its success,” he added. He maintained that whatever he had done was “within the bounds of appropriate conduct for an MP from Thiruvananthapuram.”
Tharoor said he had been hurt by the allegation that he indirectly received personal benefits from this enterprise. “This allegation is particularly wounding because I have had a three-decade career in international public service that has never been sullied by the slightest taint,” he said.
The opposition parties led by the BJP did not allow both the Houses to function since morning.
The Rajya Sabha plunged into turmoil as the opposition wanted a full-fledged discussion on the controversy surrounding Tharoor and the Kochi team, leading to adjournment of the House for the day.
The Lok Sabha was adjourned twice over the issue — once till 12 noon and then till 2 pm after Tharoor tabled his statement amid pandemonium.
"I don't know for what the opposition is doing this. Do they want the House to run or not? A statement by Tharoor has already been given. They are hijacking Parliament,” said PK Bansal, parliamentary affairs minister.