Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor, in the eye of a storm over the Kochi IPL ownership issue, met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today ahead of the Congress Core Group meeting which is expected to take a final call on his continuance in the government.
54-year-old Tharoor drove past waiting journalists without taking any questions after the 45-minute meeting with the Prime Minister at his 7, Race Course Road residence. Tharoor also did not talk to media at his Lodhi Estate house.
The Minister had met Congress President Sonia Gandhi two days back. The party continues to distance itself from the issue amid a clamour from the opposition ranks for his removal.
Tharoor is understood to have explained his position to the Prime Minister in the wake of allegations that he helped his friend Sunanda Pushkar acquire a sweat equity in the Kochi IPL franchise.
The Congress Core Group, headed by Gandhi, who is also the UPA Chairperson, would be meeting at the Prime Minister's residence to decide on Tharoor's fate this evening, party sources said. Singh returned from his two-nation tour yesterday.
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A K Antony, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Political Secretary to Congress President Ahmed Patel are other members of the key group which deals with major issues.
The minister's statement in the Lok Sabha on Friday did not appear to have changed the position of the party.
The controversy centres around the allocation of sweat equity valued at Rs 70 crore by the IPL Kochi franchise to Pushkar. However, Tharoor has denied the charge that he intended to get any financial gain for him or his friend.
The opposition is gunning for the removal of 54-year-old first-time MP from Thiruvananthapuram on the ground that he misused his office to get pecuniary gains for his friend.