Tharoor back at centre of controversy over CWG payment

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Feb 13 (PTI) Former Union Minister ShashiTharoor was back at the centre of a controversy with the CAGpointing out that he had been paid 30,000 USD( about Rs 13lakh) for attending 12 meetings of the Commonwealth GamesOrganising Committee and for his consultancy services.

Sources in the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG),which has sent an audit memo to the CWG Organising Committee,said there have been findings 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 today.

Tharoor defended his CWG links saying that he was"officially, formally and legally paid" for the servicesrendered by him when he was not in public life.

The former Minister of State for External Affairs alsosaid that he legally retained his foreign bank accounts as allformer NRIs were entitled do under RBI rules and that therewas no impropriety in doing so.

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 GSN

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