All news channels today are running the Tharoor involvement in Kerala’s IPL story in the ‘breaking news’ mode with everyone giving little substance but more air time over what’s actually nothing. In an attempt to see if Dr Shashi Tharoor or his office would in anyway be connected to the IPL team I discovered some startling facts, all based on information available on the internet. At the outset I’d like to state that this writer couldn’t care less about Sunanda Pushkar and her association with Dr Shashi Tharoor. This writer’s objective is just to present some facts about the new Kerala IPL team related to the real estate they own on the internet and in the process show how Dr Tharoor’s office might be linked to the team much closer than what Dr Tharoor would like everyone to believe.
The way Rendezvous sports won the IPL bid and the fact that there was only one Malayali name was in the owner’s list and he had 1% share in the team was a little hard to believe. It was a little baffling that businessmen with absolutely no connection to the state would like to put up an IPL cricket team spending atrocious amounts of money. The parallels between Dr Tharoor’s political debut and Rendezvous debut in IPL is too obvious. A virtually unknown in Kerala politics, Dr Tharoor was given a ticket to the Lok Sabha seat of Thiruvananthapuram. This despite the fact that he wasn’t from Thiruvananthapuram but from Palakkad in Kerala. He won and subsequently went on to become the Minister of State for External Affairs. The way Rendezvous bid and won the IPL franchisee for Kochi was very similar to Dr Tharoor’s Lok Sabha victory.
Every one has a Twitter account these days, it’s such a huge hit in India. So the Kerala IPL team has it’s own Twitter account too. The screenshot below shows their page and their website (the standard.in) which I take it is their official website. I’m not willing to be fooled by the news displayed on “The Kerala Standard” website, it’s a nice way to keep getting in traffic from search engines. While checking who registered the domain for the Kerala IPL team, where it is hosted I hit upon some information which need to be clarified by our Minister for External Affairs. His office is for sure involved in more than just being good friends for a bunch of people who want stand up for the Malayali pride in fielding an IPL team. Here’s the registrant information of this website, the registrant’s name might be familiar to the one’s on Twitter already. Read it along with the registrant information of Dr Tharoor’s official website.
Looking at the WHOIS information for thestandard.in and tharoor.in one can safely conclude that Dr Tharoor’s office or one of his staff members has registered the website for the Kerala IPL team. The email ID listed is firstname.lastname@example.org which is probably the official email address of Dr Shashi Tharoor’s OSD, Shri Jacob Joseph. This information is available on the contact page on Dr Tharoor’s website. Did the Minister’s office register the domain for the Kerala IPL team? If Yes then why unless they have a stake in it? If No then why is the official email ID of the Minister’s OSD listen on the domain’s contact information?
Officer on Special Duty
Additionally I also have considerable proof to believe that both these websites are hosted out of the same datacenter in the US, I did a trace of the IP address and see them pointing to the same location owned by RACKSPACE. The underlined lines below shows that both websites though they resolve to different IP addresses are hosted out of the same datacenter and the IP space is owned by RACKSPACE, one person manages the hosting space rented here in all probability. Do the Minister’s office or personal staff host the Kerala IPL team’s website? If Yes then why is the minister denying close association with the IPL team? If No then how come the Minister’s official website and the Kerala IPL website are hosted out of the same facility? Coincidence? A might one I’d say !
13 355 ms 416 ms 294 ms RACKSPACE-M.edge2.Dallas3.Level3.net [18.104.22.168]
14 287 ms 285 ms 283 ms vlan907.core7.dfw1.rackspace.net [22.214.171.124]
15 284 ms 286 ms 289 ms aggr511a-1-core7.dfw1.rackspace.net [126.96.36.199]
16 285 ms 282 ms 291 ms 174-143-27-168.static.cloud-ips.com [188.8.131.52]
15 268 ms 267 ms 271 ms main1.above.net [184.108.40.206]
16 268 ms 277 ms 275 ms vlan907.core7.dfw1.rackspace.net [220.127.116.11]
17 302 ms 289 ms 281 ms 18.104.22.168
18 272 ms 273 ms 294 ms 204-232-202-72.static.cloud-ips.com [22.214.171.124]
Shri Jacob Joseph who also is associated with mobmag.in and tenders4u.com is an active twitter user and Dr Tharoor even once attributed him to the reason for getting onto Twitter. Why should the Minister deny his close association with the Kerala IPL team and attribute it to just mentoring when his personal staff seem to be closely involved in their presence on the internet? Surely the interests aren’t philanthropic.
The URL posted today by Dr Tharoor’s OSD is in bad taste. Why rake up Mr Lalit Modi’s past when that’s already been part of a court dispute in the BCCI election case? When you knew he was indicted why did you even seek his favour for an IPL team? This particular gentleman has always gone on overdrive on Twitter when Dr Tharoor landed into a controversy, should a Union Minister of India’s personal staff start giving out sound bites? Are the personal staff of the Minister exempt from helping hold the integrity and respect of the high office the Minister holds and get into a slander match with a sporting honcho who thinks he can turn any sport into a money spinner?
I’m sure every information on the WHOIS pages of these domain will be changed overnight, but the fact that they were on them till today is a testimony to the the shallow thought that went into owning these online resources. It’s not a crime to own a stake in a cricket team in a format that’s exciting and gets good ad revenues for broadcasters. Someone should take a long hard look and say “let’s stop insulting the intelligence of our audience and come clean out of this.” It’s not a big deal, but would mean a lot to folks such as this writer who have loved Dr Shashi Tharoor’s books and have seen every interview he has given about a dozen times on the internet and looked up to him as a man who made his country proud all through his career.