Will act against Tharoor only after checking facts: PM


Washington : The fresh controversy brewing around Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor reached Washington with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday saying he will decide on any action against his junior foreign minister for his alleged meddling in the IPL franchisee business only after checking facts and not on the basis of “hearsay and media reports”.

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“I don’t have all the facts. When I go back, I will find out the facts and will take action, if required,” Manmohan Singh told journalists here when asked about growing clamour for the resignation of Tharoor in India.

“We can’t go by hearsay and media reports,” a circumspect prime minister said.

A major political row has exploded in India after allegations surfaced that one of the shareholders in the Kochi IPL franchise, Tharoor’s acknowledged friend and reported romantic interest Sunanda Pushkar, reportedly received a “free” equity in the team of the India Premier League worth about Rs 70 crore (around $15 million).

Tharoor has denied he tried to influence the deal and had called IPL commissioner Lalit Modi only to inquire about the delay in finalising the Kochi franchisee.

The controversy has erupted on the eve of the parliament’s session starting Thursday.

India’s chief opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was quick to seize on the issue and has demanded the resignation of Tharoor “improper behaviour” for allegedly “misusing” authority for helping Pushkar secure equity in the Kochi team.

Tharoor, a former UN executive who unsuccessfully contested for the post of UN secretary general against present incumbent Ban ki-Moon, was elected by a huge margin to the Lok Sabha from Thiruvanathapuram in Kerala on his political debut in India in the general elections last year.