Statement by BJP National General Secretary and spokesperson
The Bharatiya Janata Party is in no way concerned with the internal management of BCCI or IPL. It is in no way concerned with the statements being made by an IPL Franchise and the IPL Commissioner. These are internal matters of the cricket body on which as a political party we shall not make any comment.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is certainly concerned with the conduct of a minister of the Indian government. Recent events have demonstrated that Mr Shashi Tharoor is an enfant terrible of this government. He has a history sheet of a conduct unbecoming of a union minister. While his earlier statements demonstrated political immaturity, his present conduct insofar as his interest in a particular franchise, Randezvous Sports World, is concerned, amounts to a conduct unbecoming of a union minister. Shashi Tharoor's statement is that he has only helped the Kochi franchise in bringing cricket to Kerala. We have no objection to his effort to bring cricket to Kerala. If it was only his love for Kerala or his desire to bring cricket to Kerala that prompted him to help the Kochi franchise, the BJP would have no objection. But the truth appears otherwise. It was his desire to commercially benefit from this cause that prompted him to intervene in the matter. The following facts are clear.
Shashi Tharoor admittedly intervened repeatedly to help the Kochi franchise.
The Kochi franchise has made it known to the IPL that a sweat equity i.e. Free equity stake has been issued in favour of Ms. Sunanda Pushkar.
While the BJP has no interest in the personal affairs of Shashi Tharoor, Sunanda Pushkar reportedly has a close relationship with Shashi Tharoor. Sunanda Pushkar has admittedly rendered no service to Cricket or Kerala or to the Kochi franchise that may independently entitle her to a free equity in the company. It is obvious that the quad pro quo for this equity is the service rendered by Shashi Tharoor to the Kochi franchise.
It is obvious that Shashi Tharoor has charged a consideration for his service rendered to the Kochi franchise and the said consideration is valuable shareholding parked in the name of someone who has a close personal proximity to him.
That a minister in the union government should be indulging in this conduct is wholly unacceptable. How can the Prime Minister of India condone this conduct?
Shashi Tharoor has issued a carefully worded denial which conceals the full truth where he says that he has not invested or received a rupee from the Kochi franchise. Admittedly, he has not. His close associates have received shares without paying for them. When a person with close proximity tohim receives a shareholding can he say that he will not benefit from the same particularly when it is free equity.
Such conduct besides being improper is clearly a criminal offence. Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 defines criminal conduct when a public servant abuses his office of public service and obtains for himself or for any other person any valuable thing or pecuniary advantage. Shashi Tharoor has misused his position as a minister in pushing the case of Kochi franchise in order to receive a valuable thing and pecuniary advantage in the name of "any other person". Under section 20 of the Act, any gratification other than the legal remuneration by a public servant either in his own name or for any other person creates a legal presumption of criminal misconduct.
The Bharatiya Janata Party is of the clear opinion that Shashi Tharoor cannot continue in the government even for a moment after this gross ministerial impropriety. His conduct amounts to criminal misconduct with punitive consequences. The Prime Minister must immediately dismiss him from the government and refer the case to CBI for criminal investigations.