Monday, April 19, 2010

Lalit Modi wins for now, but does the story end?

Shashi Tharoor had an impeccable record: belonging to and old family from Palghat, Kerala but born in London, educated in India and abroad, three decades of successful service with the UN, resigns that job to contest for the post of Secretary General of the UN but fails, back home in India scores an impressive win in the Parliamentary election from Trivandrum though his mother and relatives were against him joining politics, straightaway made Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

So far so good.

Shashi Tharoor was doing okay even though his style of operation was not exactly palatable to the old world politicians. But then he made the mistake of doing two things which Lalit Modi did not like. He sprang a surprise by bringing in a team for Kerala in the recent IPL auctions. Also, his Ministry granted visa to a South African model who Modi, according to reports, did not want to come to India.

Now, everybody knows who Modi is. Technically he is only the chairman of a sub-committee of the BCCI. But that is the India Premier League sub-committee and Modi is its sole effective boss. Even the BCCI does not seem to have any meaningful control over him.

Modi is a genius and he has proved that within two short years. Forgotten or buried were the negative reports about him on different fronts. He made powerful friends and became the number one name in the Indian Cricket officialdom. Nobody really bothered whether all the rules were being followed by the IPL.

When Shashi Tharoor did not toe the line, Modi was not happy. He disclosed the shareholding details of the Cochin team, which had not been done in the case of the other outfits, and stated that he had some doubts. Also, there was a woman’s name in it – Sunanda Pushkar. She was to get a portion of the equity in the sponsoring company of the Kerala team, for free. An explanation that came up was that the shares were in consideration for her services for 10 years. A rumor that Shashi Tharoor and this lady were planning to get married, suddenly caught on like wild fire.

Sweat equity thus became sweet equity and a shadow of doubt was cast on Shashi Tharoor. The BJP went into the attack with all guns firing, possibly without properly evaluating the consequences. It would appear that a major point was overlooked. They concentrated mainly on the Cochin team and Shashi Tharoor being sacked, not on the entire IPL spectrum. The Leftists were quick to join them.

The Prime Minister who was abroad returned to Delhi on Saturday and by Sunday evening ShashiTharoor handed over his resignation. That turned out to be a wet blanket. Suddenly there was no issue left for the BJP in this matter.

But the other opposition parties are not stopping with that. They are demanding an enquiry into all aspects of the IPL from its beginning. Of course, BJP too joined the demand. But the Congress was already on the job.

So, the story goes on.

Also see:

Kerala politics: Confused Comrades


Sunita said...

At least one thing can be said for the Tharoor-Modi spat : opening the morning newspaper was so much more interesting the last few days! All of a sudden militancy, natural calamities, poverty,... just about everything, seems to have been washed off the front pages to make way for the Tharoor vs. Modi coverage.

Nebu said...

Sashi Tharoor's sweet equity (Sunanda Pushkar) caused him to lose his sweat equity (Ministerial Berth). It is very sad he had to resign. The run of the mill politicians of Kerala are secretly rubbing their hands in glee for having finally shown him his place. He is the sort of person we need as the future Chief Minister of Kerala.


The spat is even more riveting than the cricket, which has somehow ceased to be just that - cricket.

You have explained the whole thing very clearly, making it easier for people like me to understand.

Anand Antony said...

On the face of it there is case for investigation against Mr. Tharoor. Has his status as a minister influenced the issue of sweat equity to his close friend or partner Sunanda Pushkar? If proven, indeed financial crimes of this sort are very serious. Also the investigation should be primarily done by the regulator SEBI and not by CBI etc.. Mr. Tharoor has offered full cooperation for any investigation and I hope that truth comes out soon. Notwithstanding the result of the investigations, my gut feeling is that Mr. Tharoor by nature is not corrupt. His action in extending visa to the South African model Gabriella Demetriades despite the objections of Mr. Modi points to that. A corrupt politician would have quietly kept Mr. Modi on his side.

perumalythoma said...

The entire affair stinks.
What I just can't understand is how none of this came to the attention of any regulatory body in the past three year.
But really liked how one of the Hindi channels branded the entire episode - Haseena ka Paseena.
Thought that was hilarious!

Maddy said...

he really should not have brought sue (as sunanda calls herself)menon into the picture - or else he'd have had the public rooting fro him - tharoor i mean..

Kariyachan said...

Shashi Tharoor should take this incident as a learning experience and make a comeback, he needs to be more shrewd next time around.

Modi - maverick - yet tainted? But then, how many businessmen and politicians are in India who can claim to be 100% clean.. he did a fantastic job bringing up IPL as a multi billion dollar brand..!