Controversial Indian minister of state Tharoor resigns over corruption charges

15:54, April 19, 2010      

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India's Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor has resigned over allegations of corruption and misuse of his office to win a bid for a team in the multi-billion-dollar Indian Premier League (IPL) cricketing tournament, said official sources of the Congress party on Monday.

The resignation of 54-year-old Tharoor, a writer and a former Under Secretary General in the United Nations, came late Sunday night after a day's hectic meetings of the ruling Congress party's top brass, including his two one-to-one meets with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, according to the sources.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has forwarded Tharoor's resignation to President Pratibha Patil with a recommendation that it may be accepted, a Prime Minister's Office spokesman said.

A little before midnight, came the announcement that the President of India Pratibha Patil had accepted Tharoor's resignation from the Council of Ministers with immediate effect.

The minister has been accused, by the opposition parties, of misusing his position as he lobbied for an IPL franchise for Kochi, one eventually won by a consortium that included as an employee Tharoor's girlfriend, Sunanda Pushkar, who was gifted equity worth 700 million rupees (15 million U.S. dollars), a story which has been hogging media headlines for over a week.

The controversy began exactly a week ago with a tweet on Twitter sent by IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi.

After fast-paced events through the week that were embarrassing for the party, the Congress made up its mind at a core committee meeting, earlier on Sunday, that Tharoor had to go.

In a related development, Tharoor's close friend Pushkar decided to surrender the free equity stake she was gifted by the consortium that bought the Kochi IPL team last month.

Source: Xinhua


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