PM to brief Sonia Gandhi prior to Congress core group meeting

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New Delhi, Apr.18 (ANI): The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, is expected to brief Congress party president Sonia Gandhi about his discussions this morning with Minister of State for External Affairs, Shashi Tharoor, ahead of the meeting of the Congress Core Committee this evening.

Sources said this would be Dr. Singh's first meeting with Sonia Gandhi in a fortnight. The two have not been able to meet because of Gandhi being out of the national capital and also because Dr. Singh had to travel to the United States and Brazil to attend three key summits.

The Prime Minister returned from his foreign tour yesterday.

Unconfirmed reports said today that during his meeting with the Prime Minister at his official residence, Tharoor had offered to resign from his Cabinet post over the Kochi IPL fiasco.

Sources then said Tharoor had left it to Dr. Singh to take a final call on the matter.

They said that Tharoor might step down if the Congress leadership feels that this is the best course to follow.

Tharoor reportedly had a forty-five minute long meeting with Dr Singh, where he put forward his views.

He was seen coming out of the Prime Minister's residence and entering his car. The car made a hasty exit from the compound for his residence. He refused to interact with the media.

Meanwhile, his close companion, Sunanda Pushkar, has reportedly sold off her sweat equity in the Kochi IPL franchise, worth at least Rs.70 crore, to avoid further scrutiny and unnecessary publicity.

Dr Singh is likely to meet with the Congress top brass at around 6: 30 p.m. at his official residence.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A K Antony and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram are expected to attend the meeting.

Sources said the Congress High Command is unconvinced with Tharoor's defence with regard to his role in the controversial Kochi IPL franchise and may take a final decision before the Parliament reconvenes on Monday.

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Lal Krishna Advani on Saturday demanded Tharoor's sacking and lashed out at the government for using its might to save the 'tainted' minister.

Advani said Tharoor was not fit to be a minister.

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh too demanded Tharoor's dismissal in the wake of the IPL row.

The Communist Party of India (CPI) also made a similar demand.

"Tharoor's behaviour is unbecoming of a minister and out of tune with Indian politics," said CPI leader Gurudas Dasgupta.

The BJP had earlier demanded a CBI probe into Tharoor's role.

It said Tharoor's link with the IPL team Kochi was a patent abuse authority by a minister.

Tharoor is reportedly in trouble after IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi tweeted to reveal that Sunanda Pushkar, a close associate of Tharoor, had been gifted sweat equity worth Rs.70 crores in the new Kochi team, which was sold for Rs.1530 crores last month.

Modi in his email to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Shashank Manohar had stated it was Tharoor who called him and instructed him not to reveal the identities of the stakeholders of the Kochi IPL franchisee.

Tharoor, however, has denied this.

Tharoor said he had 'enough' of the controversy and denied securing any monetary interest in the Kochi IPL team. (ANI)

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