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IPL row: Tharoor explains his position to PM

April 18, 2010 14:09 IST

Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor, who is embroiled in a row over the ownership of Indian Premier League's Kochi franchise, on Sunday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh apparently to explain his position on the issue.

The meeting took place hours before the Congress gore group is scheduled to decide the issue of Tharoor's continuance in the government 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 take a call on Tharoor's fate this evening, party sources said.

Singh returned from his two-nation tour on Satrurday. 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 party has already distanced itself from Tharoor on the IPL issue, saying it was for him to explain. The minister's statement in the Lok Sabha on Friday did not appear to have changed the position of the party.

The controversy centers 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.

Senior leaders L K Advani and Prakash Karat on Friday joined the chorus for Tharoor's sacking.

After the 45-minute meeting with the Prime Minister, Tharoor left 7, Race Course Road without taking questions from reporters. The minister, on reaching his Lodhi Estate residence, drove past the waiting media and was seen talking on his cellphone.

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