Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor landed himself in a fresh controversy when Lalit Modi, an avid user of Twitter, tweeted that the Union minister had asked him not to reveal the ownership pattern of the IPL Kochi franchise.
The dispute erupted when Modi disclosed the names of some of the owners of the consortium that bought the franchise for $333 million. Modi has also alleged that he was told by Tharoor not to ask who these shareholders were.
The issue got murkier when it was reported that Sunanda Pushkar, Tharoor's fiancée, owns 19% stake in the 25% free equity owned by Rendezvous Sports World Pvt Ltd, the company that led the consortium that finally won the team. The value of Pushkar's stake is $15.82 million (about Rs 70 crore).
Tharoor defends himself:
Tharoor said in a statement, "I deny Lalit Modi's allegation that I called him during his meeting with investors in the Kochi consortium in Bangalore in order to press him not to question the composition of the consortium."
Sunanda Pushkar's Take:
Pushkar accused the media of ignoring her professional background and international business experience and focussing "obsessively on my personal life as if a woman cannot be capable of professional or financial success".
IPL Kochi Franchise:
In the eye of storm over its ownership pattern, Indian Premier League's Kochi franchise alleged that IPL commissioner Lalit Modi is targeting the new team under pressure from Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Row turns political, Opposition guns for Tharoor:
The Left parties joined the campaign against Tharoor and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) demanded he must step down till his name "is cleared of any unethical or irregular behaviour".
The CPI went a step further and asked Manmohan Singh to sack Tharoor for misusing his official position.
Samajwadi Party asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to remove Tharoor from the Union cabinet over the controversy.