Tharoor, India’s # 1 man of controversy…


Suave, articulate, good-looking, Tharoor looks every bit an erudite popular Professor who occupies the chambers at Yale and Oxford rather than an Indian neta. Tharoor sticks out in the crowd of fat, paan chewing, uncouth netas. I am quite confident he makes many of them cringe when he walks into a meeting or starts talking. He is well and truly not a regular neta and I am glad we have him as an irregularity. I honestly appreciate his ability to speak his mind without worrying too much of its consequences, and if he did, the reactions may have surprised him tremendously. This is one politician who engages himself on a social networking site and now has a following in excess of 700,000, an obvious sign of his popularity especially with the younger generation. He could also very well be popular on Twitter because of his candor than anything else. Candor from a politician is as rare as spotting a bird of paradise perched on your bedroom window. It is indeed a rarity. 

Tharoor is a man who probably knows much of everything and little of nothing. His passion is for not just what his portfolio covers, but extends to cricket and literature. receiving a Phd at the age of twenty-two is a record that Tharoor still holds at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. For one who is as learned as Tharoor, I am glad he has chosen to use his experience and wisdom in public service. If it were not for his loss to Ban Ki Moon when he failed to succeed Kofi Annan as Secretary General in the United Nations, we would not have had Tharoor plunge his head neck-deep in India’s murky political waters. 

Given the number of controversies that seem to come his way, I am beginning to incline towards the thought that there are many who are waiting to pounce on Tharoor and drag him down a whirlpool of controversies. Many in the game and many from his own party may be disillusioned having  Tharoor around or probably by now suffer from plain inferiority complex. By habit, we never allow somebody worthwhile to rise, we are so used to having scums, notorious criminals and uneducated crass netas lead us that the likes of Tharoor are shocking to the system. Hypothetically, if Tharoor was ugly, unsophisticated, uneducated,crass,with zero knowledge of even what Twitter is and played the game boot licking the high command, he would possibly be assured of a longer tenure and a meatier role in the future. With the number of issues that he has had to face and receiving a lot of backlash from his own party, Tharoor has a steep hill to climb to attempt even a smirk out of Sonia. 

Over the last few months Tharoor has made it to the news for reasons not concerning the external affairs of the country but his own affairs. From the controversy over his cattle class tweets to his stand on the visa regulations to his expensive five-star hotel stays to his candid opinion on Nehru’s vision on foreign policy and now splashing into the country’s current pass time, the IPL. I had previously written about how our politicians, Bollywood stars, corporate moguls are more prominent than the cricket players themselves in the road show called the IPL. The latest controversy has ensured that Tharoor has bagged the top slot for being the country’s most controversial figure. 

The new drama is now around Tharoor literally walking into an area that should have been best avoided. Why do our politician’s get involved in the IPL when it has nothing to do with them and yet has everything to do with them. From Sharad Pawar and now to Tharoor. Tharoor has backed the formation of the Kochi team for the IPL from the very start and is now said to also be backing one of the owners of the team, allegedly his to be wife, Sunanda Pushkar, a beautician and a socialite. Honestly, I am not sure in which world does a beautician make money to the tune of a few hundred crores to afford a 19% stake in the shares of Rendevous group, which is the franchisee bidding for the Kochi team, and hence the free shares from the group. This startling revelation was made by another equally candid show man Lalit Modi. So, right now the power play is on between two formidable men and a woman in between. It is obvious that the defacto owner at the outset appears to be Tharoor and this again raises the obvious question, why do netas get involved in things they should not be. 

And now that the Sania Shohaib controversy has bitten the dust, we have a new one that has risen, as if waiting for the right moment to peep out. Tharoor’s private affairs external or not are his business, but his involvement in a money spinning game does raise the eyebrows. Tharoor had always claimed that he backed the Kochi team from a moral sense, but the financial backing is a stinker.Modi has not only publicly disclosed the names of some of the owners of the consortium that bought the franchisee for $333 million but has also alleged that he was told by Tharoor not to ask who these shareholders were. This startling claim assumes significance since at the heart of the controversy is the reported 19% stake owned by Sunanda Pushkar 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). I have been a supporter of Tharoor in all his tweeting actions but this is one controversy that he needs to urgently attend to. If only netas could continue doing what they were meant to. Good luck to Tharoor, it may not be enough this time. 






30 Responses to “Tharoor, India’s # 1 man of controversy…”

  1. Tharoor’s response
    Official statement on the IPL allegation
    Published 11 hours ago

    1. A consortium led by Rendezvous was set up to bid for an IPL team. They approached me for help and guidance. I steered them towards Kerala. Rendezvous includes a number of people, including many I have never met, and Sunanda Pushkar, whom I know well.

    2. My role in mentoring the consortium included several conversations with Mr Lalit Modi, who guided us through the process and presented himself as a trusted friend.

    3. The consortium bid successfully in an open and transparent process. Their unexpected success upset the plans of a lot of powerful people, who had wanted the franchise to go elsewhere.

    4. Various attempts were made by Mr Modi and others to pressure the consortium members to abandon their bid in favour of another city in a different state. Mr Modi raised assorted objections to the bid documents but finally had no choice but to approve them.

    5. His extraordinary breach of all propriety in publicly raising issues relating to the composition of the consortium and myself personally is clearly an attempt to discredit the team and create reasons to disqualify it so that the franchise can be awarded elsewhere.

    6. Contemptible efforts have been made to drag in matters of my personal life which I do not intend to dignify by commenting on them.

    7. However, I deny Mr Lalit Modi’s allegation that I called him during his meeting with investors in the Kochi consortium in Bangalore on Saturday night in order to press him not to question the composition of the consortium.

    I called Mr Modi to ask why he was further delaying the approval of the franchise when all the legal requirements had been fulfilled.. Mr Modi had held up approval by the IPL of the franchisee agreement earlier in the day, by insisting on the reversal of a change in the document that he himself had earlier suggested. This change was made, the consortium members flew to Bangalore and met with Mr Modi after that night’s IPL game for what they had been told would be a routine exercise. Instead they were submitted to a barrage of questions which led some to suspect that Mr Modi was seeking a further excuse to delay approval. This was the reason for my intervention with Mr Modi. Had he conducted himself in good faith throughout, no call would have been necessary.

    8. On the question of my interests in the franchise, I repeat that I am proud to have helped the consortium come to Kerala. I have neither invested nor received a rupee for my mentorship of the team. Whatever my personal relationships with any of the consortium members, I do not intend to benefit in any way financially from my association with the team now or at a later stage.

    9. A Kerala IPL team is a dream of many young people in and from the state. It has the potential to bring great material and psychological benefits to Kerala’s economy and society. The unethical efforts that have been made by Mr Modi and others to thwart the Kerala franchise which had been won fair and square in a transparent bidding process are disgraceful. It has been clear for some time that the real motive is to assign this IPL team elsewhere than Kerala. All of us in Kerala hope that the BCCI will not permit statements and activities which seek to discredit the Kerala team before it has even had a chance to prove its worth. The public attempts by Mr Modi to besmirch the consortium in fact bring the IPL itself into disrepute.

    This statement is issued by me in a personal capacity to respond to the allegations made against me personally.

    Dr Shashi Tharoor


  2. couple of points.
    1. does it matter if shashi tharoor owns/is a shareholder in a team?? are there legal issues surrounding this..
    2. y did modi tweet about it?? makes u wonder his interests regarding this
    3. so what if a beautician has couple of crores lyin around.. shahnaz hussein could also be termed as a beautician.. doesnt she have enough crores to buy shares in an IPL team.. i dont agree with ur notion that beauticians cant make money… maybe she was born rich or maybe she’s got her own enterprise who knows..
    4. y does anyone care who shashi tharoor marries?? bcoz shes owns shares doesnt stop them from gettin married..
    completely agree with ur thoughts abt tharoor gettin the boot bcoz hes educated and sophisticated.. but ultimately i think he’ll need to get down to the neta level to survive politics..

    • And Reghu – It is not actually a question of Sunanda’s wealth as the shares transfered were for free. Two possible scenarios. Tharoors black money goes to Rendezvous sports or Rendezvous sports have provided a kickback and Sunanda is a front.

  3. Reghu – Thanks for your comments.

    1. No legal issues as such but politicians in entertainment business such as the IPL is a distraction and moreover the $333 million investment is not a small figure. Not sure what his stake is, but it bound to be staggering. What are the sources of funds? Has it been disclosed?

    2. Not sure why Modi tweeted about it, this looks like the next Bofors.

    3. Yes, Hussain can afford it but nobody has heard of Sunanda and her prowess as a beautician, hence the question. Born rich maybe.

    4.I agreed this is his personal business and wrote exactly this.

    I do not want to see Tharoor stoop down to the Neta level, I have immense respect for him. I want to see him as the non typical politician.

  4. Anand Khare Says:


    Shashi Tharoor is one of the good persons joined Indian politics. We should not discourage him like Indian media does without responsibility.We don’t know what is the real stuff behind this. It is suspected that those who are running IPL have doubtful intentions though.In my view IPL is promoting quick money concept rather than promoting sports or health.

    I find Shashi Tharoor very reasonable and outstanding amongst the crowd of politicians who pose them like holy cows.

    Another asset,He is also a good looking gentleman.So Sunandas etc fall anyways.Her accumulation of wealth as a beautician may be an eye opener. What sheik’s wives are doing?



    • Anand – Yes, I agree Tharoor stands out and hence becomes more important for him to clear his name. He needs to prove he has not used his position to influence the bidding process besides the fact that the investment money could also be his. IPL is a money spinning racket, that is precisely my point as to why should a polictician get into the middle of all this???

      • Anand – It is not actually a question of Sunanda’s wealth as the shares transfered were for free. Two possible scenarios. Tharoors black money goes to Rendezvous sports or Rendezvous sports have provided a kickback and Sunanda is a front.

  5. what i would like to know is why no KYC/AML procedures were followed..where was the RBI when this was happening..
    sharmila, true we dont to see tharoor reduced to a neta level, but this is goin to drag him into a real mess and put his personal life in turmoil..

  6. If indeed what is being reported is correct, then it is a pity that a person of Tharoor’s standing had to drop to this level. It will undoubtedly be an uphill task for him to now raise his credibility.

    People who know him say that Tharoor is a very ambitious person.

    You mention about his wife to be, but pertinent to add that this wife to be will be wife # 3. Btw one of his son’s from his first marriage is based in HKG and writes for Time.

    • Veekay – absolutely. It will be extremely difficult for him to get out of this mess. He should have known better. I heard about his son ( Kanishk I think ) working out from Time’s HK. That is right,she will be wife # 3, or # 30, that is his personal matter but we do not expect him to misuse his position of power, which is likely the case now.

  7. An Ambitious Man in Politics, Business, Sports or Film Industry can stoop to any level. Ambition knows no boundary unless oneself draws his/her own boundaries.
    Tharoor is just one more example.

  8. I personally think Tharoor would do better in some other field but politics. No doubt is is capable enough to be in politics but he will be stopped every now and then by those who are not able to perform themselves.

    With all this mess atleast one thing is clear that someone is not speaking the truth and that puts the creditibility of everyone involved on line. This puts a doubt in our minds as to whom can we trust and when this happens, there will always be question marks with whatever they do in future. Creditibility will always come back to haunt these guys.

    Can we not have something that is free of controversy? Wishful thinking I know.

  9. Deepan – Tharoor is the odd man out, was happy though to have somebody like him in politics. He desperately needs to come clean with this one. All roads in India lead to controversy!

    • Sharmila, there is no doubt about his capabilities. He certainly stands out. But even if he comes out clean, don’t you think there will be enough doubt there about a compromise behind closed doors. It just becomes hard to trust anyone in Indian politics. It is wait and watch for now as far as Tharoor goes.

      • Deepan – Yes, it also looks like meeting Sonia will help Tharoor. Not sure what exit strategy she will give him but having her support will help. You are right, when in politics no one is to be trusted, we the public remain the biggest fools, proven ones at that!

  10. I don’t have much knowledge about the issue…….but I feel there is something fishy on Mr.Modi’s part…….after all his tweet was the primary reason for this problem I think…..

  11. No one is Mr.Clean in Politics. So called Mr.Clean – Rajiv Gandhi tarnished his name in Bofors controversy. Clean chit from courts don’t prove them innocent in eyes of general public. However they claim to be ‘Politically Correct’.
    Its amazing that White Collar ‘Thugs’ are everywhere playing ppl and countries more dangerously though successfully. such Stigma is now considered as ‘One more Feather in one’s Hat’.

    • MonaLisa – Well so true. The only few who I have never heard anything adverse as yet on are Kalam and Vajpayee., hopefully it will remain that way.

  12. Vajpayee is unmarried-have no family and Kalam is not a full time politician.
    The way all MLAs & MPs are funded to work in their territories, any part of India shouldn’t be in distress and ppl without basic amenities. Those taxpayers hard earned monies certainly help and provide that particular MP or MLA and family to uplift their lifestyle. who cares if a common man goes down the Drain!? well! Its an over populated country anyway! what does it matter if few hundred thousand die due to poverty,malnutrition,without ant treatment etc etc. Duh ! it’s their fate ! isn’t it !?Grrr….. silly me !….Gosh! I need to learn how to be so philosophical in the matters not affecting me or my vested interests directly ! Aah…..

    • MonalIsa – That is right. Probably a ‘family’ may have had other Re – Kalam, wish he had dabbed in polictics more, but never know what that could have done to him.

  13. We have many classic examples around of Men going Topsy Turvy for their family, doing all kind of obnoxious things and stooping to the level usually no one would.
    Kalam doesn’t seem like a perfect fit into that breed of politicians anyway. However his frequent abroad visits created a kind of havoc amongst bureaucrats and political leaders. After all Gov. has to pay for his visits him being ex-president. I wonder if he would pay such visits if he has to bear those expenses! secondly whosoever is/was inviting him for conferences and lectures could/should have paid those expenses. then why does he have to accrue those expenses on Govt/taxpayers account!?

    • MonaLisa – Yes, his foreign visits sparked some rebuttals, but for somebody as accomplished as him who is acting as an emissary of India can we not afford his travels? Compare this capable man to the unscruplous politicians who go on holidays at our expense.

  14. […] The last one week has been rather volcanic, eruptions of gargantuan proportions have spewed ashes and flames all around. The smoke is thick and visibility has been drastically reduced to less than five metres. Our eyes continue to smart and burn, the breathing is getting a lot heavier as dust and ash continues to fling itself  on us. As we continue to choke on one scam after another, we yearn for a breather and long for a respite from the fire and ice. Tharoor resigned last night. Yes, we expected him to especially after the high command sat around a crackling fire and tossed bits and pieces of a highly inflammable Tharoor and controversy ridden IPL into it. Tharoor was doomed, he did not get an auspicious start when he ventured into an unfamiliar domain a year back.With time he blanketed himself in controversies of his own making and blasted himself into space. Pushkar offering to give up her stake was a meek way of surrendering and showcasing to the world that Tharoor was no hapless victim.( A bit more on my take on Tharoor click here ) […]

  15. MonaLisa – Yes, fair point though..the ones who invite him too can bear the expense, but I dont mind my tax money used for this noble person.

  16. Well! Approval or Disapproval of a ‘Common Man’ doesn’t count in such official matters is a pity. Such practise by senators and congressmen come into limelight very often in here too. which is highly disapproved too. Its a different story however that a common man directly can’t play any role taking action against them but picture is far better than Indian Politics.
    In my opinion there shall be no exceptions when its a matter of Taxpayers Hard earned monies. If all Govs. and bureaucrats realise that then no one will remain poor or below poverty level in any country on face of this Earth.

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