New Delhi, Feb 13 (PTI) Former Union Minister ShashiTharoor is back in the news over payment of money by theOrganising Committee of the Commonwealth Games for consultancyservices.
Tharoor today described the reports as "malicious",saying that he was "officially, formally and legally paid" forthe services rendered by him when he was not in public life.
He also said that he legally retained his foreign bankaccounts as all former NRIs were entitled do under RBI rulesand that there was no impropriety in doing so.
Meanwhile, sources in the CAG, which has sent an auditmemo to the CWG Organising Committee, said there have beenfindings that Tharoor had been paid.
"But the payment is not illegal as it was due to himas part of the consultation fee. We have mentioned it in theaudit memo sent to the OC. The final report is yet to befinalised," the CAG sources said.
In a statement, Tharoor, who had to resign as unionminister following a controversy over Kochi IPL ownership lastyear, said the consultancy services were rendered betweenSeptember 2008 and January 2009 during a period well before heentered public life and when he had no relationship with thegovernment.
"The consultancy fee charged was a token sum, and thetotal sum paid (USD 30,000 less taxes) was far below the feethat I used to command even just to make a single speech," theLok Sabha MP from Kerala said.
He said he worked as an independent consultant out ofNew York supporting the CWG for which "I was officially,formally and legally paid".
Tharoor said, "Following my move to India and my entryinto public life here, I closed my old office and discontinuedany and all remunerative activities related to governmentinstitutions."
He said, "I did not approach the CWG but they soughtme out in order to have me lend my stature to the promotion ofthe event. I was a consultant for a national and internationalengagement and promotion of the Commonwealth Youth Games, notthe CWG itself."
He maintained that he donated a considerable portionof his time and effort including on occasions "using hispersonal travel".
Tharoor said he attended preparatory meetings and theCWYG itself and addressed various audiences in support ofthese games, including the assembled athletes from around theworld in Pune on the eve of the CWYG
"In other words, there is nothing illegal, unethical,immoral or improper about my having rendered paid services toa nationally-supported international endeavour," he added. PTIJD SKP SC