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I want to clear my name: Tharoor
NEW DELHI: Making a statement in the Lok Sabha for the first time since his resignation from the Union council of ministers, ousted minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor said that he had asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to order an inquiry into the allegations against him in connection with the Kochi IPL franchise.

"I have done nothing improper, unethical and much less illegal .... I have requested the Prime Minister to investigate thoroughly the charges against me,” he said.

“It is important to me that my name is cleared, which has been besmirched,” Tharoor said, as he had lived a life of probity throughout his career abroad.

"I have no desire to be an embarrassment to the government," he added. Tharoor said his resignation would strengthen the hands of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues to go deeper into the relevant issues

Tharoor also said he was deeply wounded by the malicious and fanciful charges. "I am new to Indian politics, but I have a long record in public service and have an unblemished record," he added.

Tharoor also played the Kerala card while presenting his defense in Parliament, "I have returned to India after a long international career. I am proud to represent Kerala," said the former minister.

The ousted minister, however, did not directly rebut the charges leveled against him by IPL commissioner Lalit Modi.

The former minister of state said it was a privilege to have served the government and the Congress party under the leadership of Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

A minister can give a statement within seven days of his resignation after advance notice to the House. Tharoor met finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is the leader of the House in Lok Sabha, on Monday to express his wish to speak.

Tharoor quit on Sunday night after the Congress leadership concluded that his involvement in IPL Kochi controversy made his continuation untenable.

According to sources, the leadership vetted Tharoor's statement. The government is focussed on the finance bill and is keen that Parliament is not disrupted in the coming week when the guillotine on the demand for grants comes up and is to be followed by the discussion on finance bill.

Congress leaders wanted to be careful that the minister should not say anything in his bid to claim innocence which may ruffle feathers in the Opposition camp or reignite the blockade which, in fact, played a role in fasttracking the decision on Tharoor. The BJP and others had blocked the House on Friday and threatened to block proceedings again to press for his resignation which made the government anxious.

Amid the IPL controversy where Tharoor was charged with helping close friend Sunanda Pushkar to secure "sweat equity" with the Kochi franchise, he was allowed to make a statement in Lok Sabha on Friday. An agitated Opposition did not let him speak and he had to table his statement. He had claimed complete innocence, saying he had nothing to do with Pushkar's "sweat equity".

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