'Su-roor'? Not so sure now - shadow on plans for wedding on sunanda birthday

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  • Published 17.04.10

April 16: The supposedly impending marriage had been billed as “Su-roor”, which in Urdu means intoxication.

“Su” as in Sunanda —“Sue” to her friends in Dubai — and “roor” as in Tharoor.

But now the buzz is that the purported marriage plans are on hold with the Kochi IPL investors frowning on the alliance and the junior foreign minister fighting for his political survival.

Sunanda Pushkar’s friends had earlier told The Telegraph the marriage might take place close to June 27, her birthday.

But sources in the Kochi IPL team now say the franchise bigwigs have expressed reservations about such a marriage, fearing it may hand more ammunition to opponents determined to establish a “business link” between them and the minister by proxy.

Tharoor today said Sunanda was not a proxy for him and he never intended to derive financial benefit from her association with the consortium that won the Kochi IPL bid.

The Kochi franchise has set up its camp office at a Delhi hotel where, every evening, the major players hold a review meeting. An insider claimed that at one such meeting, the members felt Tharoor would be better off distancing himself from Sunanda for now.

Tharoor has himself sensed that his proposed marriage is becoming an issue of sorts in his own party. Two days ago, when he met Pranab Mukherjee to explain his conduct, the finance minister had asked him two specific questions, sources said.

The first was about his relationship with Sunanda. Some may be surprised that a leader of Pranab’s stature would ask Tharoor about a personal matter, but many in the Congress feel the compulsions of probity in public life warranted such a query.

Pranab is said to have remarked that it was important to know about Tharoor’s relationship with Sunanda because of her involvement in the Kochi IPL franchise. Pranab’s second query was about the extent of Tharoor’s own involvement with the consortium.

Tharoor is believed to have been candid with Pranab about his relations with Sunanda, and about the tardy divorce proceedings with his second wife, Christa Giles. The former UN bureaucrat apparently mentioned that he often took legal help from top-notch lawyers, including some from the opposite side of the political divide.

In Dubai, where Sunanda lives, there is growing sympathy for her. Many people from an advertising agency, a leading bank and two media groups described her as a “go-getter”, a person driven by high ambitions.

Sunanda lawyer

Sunanda has hired a Dubai-based lawyer and is considering filing for damages over allegations that her proximity to Tharoor, and not her own business credentials, won her free equity in the Kochi franchise, a PTI report from Dubai said.

The report did not clarify whom she planned to sue.

The agency quoted Ashish Mehta, the lawyer, as saying his client’s image had been tarnished and she would “seriously consider filing for damages”. Mehta said the media had misrepresented his client.

He said the reports that Sunanda was a beautician, a spa owner and a socialite were untrue. “Ms Pushkar has 20 years of hard-core work experience,” he said.

The PTI report also quoted an unnamed former colleague of Sunanda as saying: “All this spa business is untrue. She has been an entrepreneur and businesswoman for long and that has brought her wealth.”