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Row Over MEA Purchase Of His Books "Contemptible": Tharoor

Hitting out at the "bash ST (Shash Tharoor) brigade", the Minister of State for External Affairs today said a controversy over the External Affairs Ministry's purchase of books authored by him was "contemptible".  Tweeting hours
PTI January 16, 2010 19:43 IST
PTI

Hitting out at the "bash ST (Shash Tharoor) brigade", the Minister of State for External Affairs today said a controversy over the External Affairs Ministry's purchase of books authored by him was "contemptible".  Tweeting hours within a media report insinuating alleged misuse of his ministerial clout in the purchase of 150 copies each of his three books being bought by his own Ministry for Indian missions abroad, Tharoor said "truth is irrelevant 4th (for the) bash ST brigade."

The minister also said he had told "the journalist that my books had been bought by MEA years before I had anything to do with government, no idea they had again last year."

"It's contemptible that despite this, they wld(would) imply I orchestrated a decision I was not even aware of," he said.  Tharoor, who has been at the centre of controversies, including the recent one on his reported remarks on Jawaharlal Nehru's foreign policy, had lashed out at the media last Sunday for "distorting" his comments made at a seminar.

In his tweeter, the minister said "just for the record, my staff & I have nothing to do with MEA book purchases & I was completely unaware of mine being amongst those bought".

"While Tharoor may be technically right that he was not involved in the selection process, propriety demanded that he should have advised the ministry not to purchase his own books lets it be misconstrued," the media report said.

Confirming that the ministry has bought 150 copies each of his three books, including 'the great Indian novel' and 'India- From Midnight to the Millennium', sources said a committee decided which titles to be kept in libraries of the missions abroad.  "It is totally an independent decision and there is no role of the minister or his office in this matter," the sources said.  The committee had met in July last year and decided on 108 titles, including those written by former Prime Minister I K Gujaral and former minister Mani Shankar Aiyer. Three out of them is written by Tharoor, they said. PTI