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‘My credentials were questioned mainly because I am a woman’

Sunanda Pushkar has had enough of Kochigate. The professional, a close friend of Union minister Shashi Tharoor, surrendered her sweat equity in the Indian Premier League’s Kochi consortium’s franchise on Sunday.

india Updated: Apr 19, 2010 01:44 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Sunanda Pushkar has had enough of Kochigate.

The professional, a close friend of Union minister Shashi Tharoor, surrendered her sweat equity in the Indian Premier League’s Kochi consortium’s franchise on Sunday.

The 48-year-old business executive offered her resignation to Rendezvous Sports, who had offered her 19 per cent of the 25 per cent sweat equity they held (4.75 per cent overall).

"As a woman professional, I am shocked to find how easily parties with vested interests questioned my credentials mainly because I am a woman. I, therefore, voluntarily offer to return to Rendezvous the sweat equity they had offered me,” Pushkar said in a statement.

"I don’t intend to seek compensation for the efforts I have made so far. As a mother of a half-Malayali son, I wish Kerala cricket well and hope this team succeeds,” she added.

Rendezvous hadn’t accepted the resignation till the time of going to press. “It’s very unfortunate that she has decided not to continue with us. We have received her resignation and it will now be discussed by the Rendezvous board whenever it meets,” spokesperson Satyajit Gaikwad told Hindustan Times.

Even Pushkar’s lawyer Ashish Mehta, who took over as her lawyer “on April 16”, said “was not privy” to whether Rendezvous would accept her giving back the sweat equity or not.

"Everything’s happened so fast that there wasn’t any time to really get into it,” Mehta told HT from Dubai. “It’s been tough on her, all that’s happened.”

On a specific question about whether Pushkar gave back the sweat equity after it was reported that giving her that equity possibly violated company law in India, he said “I’m still waiting for all the papers, I’ve just been handling this for three days”. But he added, “If there has been any violation, that is for the (Indian) authorities to decide and I am sure they are looking into it”.

He also clarified that Pushkar had “under 5 per cent of sweat equity, which was completely keeping within the norms of (company) law” and not 19 per cent as is being reported.

It may be noted that Pushkar’s resignation is an issue to be dealt with by Rendezvous Sports and not the Kochi consortium. “I’ve seen the reports but how Rendezvous distributes the 25 per cent sweat equity is really up to them and not to the consortium as a whole,” an investor said, requesting anonymity.

Modi in Dubai for ICC meeting

With the BCCI top brass in Dubai to attend a meeting of the ICC, all eyes were on Grosvenor House hotel in Dubai. The rumours of a possible meeting between the Kochi franchise owners and Sharad Pawar, IS Bindra and Lalit Modi were doing the rounds.

What baffled many was Modi’s presence at the ICC meeting instead of BCCI president Shashank Manohar. However, the BCCI had nominated Modi, also a BCCI vice-president, as their representative for the ICC meeting 15 days ago as Manohar had other committments.

BCCI working committee meet postponed

Mumbai: The Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) on Sunday decided to put off its scheduled Working Committee meeting. Confirming the postponement, BCCI sources indicated that the IPL Governing Council meeting is expected to be convened before the Working Committee meeting to discuss threadbare all the issues on hand, including the much talked about Kochi franchise.

According to indications the IPL Governing Council meeting will take place only after the conclusion of the 45-day tournament on April 25.