New Delhi:Tharoor's close friend, Sunanda Pushkar, has, as reported first by NDTV, decided to surrender the 70-crore stake she was gifted by the consortium that bought the Kochi IPL team for Rs 1,530 crores last month.
Speaking to NDTV, Pushkar's lawyer, Ashish Mehta, said her decision had nothing to do with Tharoor. Mehta said she has informed Rendezvous Sports World of the Kochi consortium of her decision. Sharing a statement issued by her, Mehta quoted, "I am a professional with 20 years of experience. Given the deeply unpleasant publicity, I can no longer find the enthusiasm required to associate myself with any IPL activity in the future," Mehta said that Pushkar has returned her sweat equity voluntarily and seeks no compensation for services rendered so far.
In a statement read out by Mehta on her behalf, Pushkar said she was giving up the equity because "given the deeply unpleasant publicity surrounding my involvement (in IPL Kochi franchise), I can no longer be able to find the enthusiasm required to associate myself with any IPL activity in the foreseeable future".
She said she was shocked that "certain parties" were questioning her credentials merely because she was a woman and that she did not intend to seek compensation for the efforts she had put in for Rendezvous.
Mehta insisted that the decision by Pushkar was taken Saturday, a day before revelations that Rendezvous had violated the Company Law by giving her sweat equity.
The controversy erupted after IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi revealed the ownership pattern of Kochi IPL, stating that Pushkar, a friend of Tharoor, owned free equity in Rendezvous Sports World.
Modi accused Tharoor of asking him not to reveal the ownership details -- a charge denied by the minister.
Pushkar had told IANS April 14 that she was approached by Rendezvous asking her to associate "with them as a consultant in their various sporting activities and particularly in their potential bid to acquire the franchise of an IPL team".
"In view of my extensive international experience as a business executive, marketing manager and entrepreneur, I was invited to assist Rendezvous particularly in the areas of fund-raising, networking, elsewhere; event management; and brand building.
"Because this is a start-up effort, I was told that in lieu of a salary they would grant me minor equity in Rendezvous in return for my efforts - which is a common practice across the world for start-ups and projects of this nature."
She went on to say that she was no proxy for the minister and she was "outraged at the distortions and outright lies about me, my background and my life that have appeared in the press".