Sunanda Pushkar on Sunday quit Rendezvous Sports World which is a stakeholder in IPL Kochi after she decided to return her free equity worth Rs 70 crore to the franchise in a last ditch attempt to save her friend, Union minister Shashi Tharoor.
The 48-year-old business executive, based in Dubai, decided to disassociate from the franchise in the wake of allegations that Tharoor had misused his office to secure the bonanza for Sunanda.
Rendezvous is understood to have accepted her resignation. Sunanda's decision to quit came after her dramatic announcement that she was voluntarily surrendering her equity to IPL Kochi.
This came shortly after Tharoor had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and explained his controversial role in 'mentoring' the Kochi franchise.
In a statement from Dubai, Sunanda said she was shocked to find 'certain vested interests' questioning her credentials and because of the 'unpleasant publicity' she was opting out.
Sunanda said, "As a woman professional, I am shocked to find how easily certain 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."
"I do not intend to seek compensation for the efforts I have made so far for them. As a mother of a half-Malayali son, I wish Kerala cricket well and I hope this team succeeds handsomely in IPL-4 and in the years to come," she said.
The statement, read out to media by her lawyer Ashish Mehta, said she had been looking forward to 'contributing over the next ten years to building the team's brand, organising events for it and marketing the team in India and the Gulf in particular.'
"Given the deeply unpleasant publicity surrounding my involvement however, I can no longer imagine being able to find the enthusiasm required to associate myself with any IPL activity in foreseeable future."
The move comes at a time when Tharoor is facing a tough time with opposition demanding his sacking from the government. Tharoor has denied the charge that he had any financial stake in the Kochi IPL which had given 19 per cent (Rs 70 crore) of the 25 per cent free equity of Rendezvous to Sunanda as she was a professional businesswoman.
Sunanda also said she is a professional of 20 years of 'well-earned successful experience' and that she was 'deeply distressed over the wild and malicious reporting of recent days' surrounding her role in Rendezvous.
Mehta said Sunanda's decision had nothing to do with Tharoor, the Minister of State for External Affairs. The new Chairman of the Kochi IPL team Harshad Mehta is in touch with the IPL officials regarding the matter. Interestingly, senior Union Minister Sharad Pawar, IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi and I S Bindra are in Dubai currently to attend an ICC meeting.