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Shashi Tharoor quits, PM asks him to go

The Intelligence Bureau has given the PM a three-page note detailing Tharoor's association with the Kochi team.

April 19, 2010, 9:07 AM IST
Shashi Tharoor quits, PM asks him to go

New Delhi: Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs, on Sunday night resigned from the Union cabinet after days of relentless controversy over his alleged involvement in the bidding for an IPL team.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has forwarded Tharoor's resignation letter to the President with the recommendation that it be accepted. "It’s a voluntary resignation. I don't want to embarrass the party. I want parliament proceedings to go on, hence I have decided to resign," said Tharoor in his letter.

CNN-IBN learns that the Intelligence Bureau has given Singh a three-page note detailing Tharoor's association with the Kochi IPL and the bidding process for the team.

Tharoor, 54, resigned after the Congress core group, which comprises top leaders of the party, met at the Prime Minister's official residence in New Delhi and decided to seek his resignation.

Sources tell CNN-IBN that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi didn't say much during the meeting, which formed a strong opinion against Tharoor.

Tharoor met Singh after the meeting and was asked to resign. A hint of his resignation came when Tharoor went to the Prime Minister's residence at night in a private car without the beacon light. He avoided the media on Sunday but is likely to make a statement in Parliament on Monday.

Congress spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan told CNN-IBN the government has taken a "correct moral stand" by asking Tharoor to resign. "Every member of the party is aware of dharma," she said.

Tharoor was accused of helping his friend, businesswoman Sunanda Pushkar, in acquiring a stake in the Kochi IPL team. Pushkar, who has a sweat equity valued at Rs 70 crore in the IPL Kochi franchise, announced earlier in the day that she had resigned from Rendezvous Sports World, which is one of the stakeholders in IPL Kochi.

Tharoor met the Prime Minister for about 45 minutes this morning during which is he is understood to have explained his position.

Tharoor, a writer and a former Under Secretary General at the United Nations, is the first minister in the second United Progressive Alliance government to resign because of a controversy.

Tharoor, a first time MP from Thiruvananthapuram, got into controversy after IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi revealed that Pushkar had equity stakes in Rendezvous Sports World (RSW), which heads the consortium that owns the Kochi team.

It was later disclosed that Pushkar got sweat equity of the value of Rs 70 crore RSW following which the opposition has been gunning for his removal on the ground that it was misuse of office for pecuniary gain.

Tharoor made an attempt to clear his name by denying the allegations that he had any role in getting equity stakes for Pushkar. He also made a statement in Parliament but opposition would have none of it.

Tharoor had met Sonia Gandhi and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister A K Antony separately in a bid to convince them about his innocence.

(With inputs from PTI)

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