Indian minister resigns over cricket money row

An Indian minister resigned on Sunday over allegations of corruption in winning a cricket league franchise.

Indian minister resigns over cricket money row

An Indian minister resigned on Sunday over allegations of corruption in winning a cricket league franchise, as the government tries to pass reform bills in parliament.

The row over junior Foreign Minister Shashi Tharoor's role in a southern city winning a $333 million bid for the cricket franchise in the popular Indian Premier League, sparked uproar in parliament last week and held up discussions on the budget.

"Dr Tharoor submitted his resignation from the council of ministers to the prime minister today," a statement from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said late on Sunday.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who met Tharoor twice on Sunday, has forwarded the resignation to President Pratibha Patil for acceptance, the statement said.

The controversy erupted after Lalit Modi, the chief of the Indian Premier League of cricket, said the winning consortium allotted stakes worth about $15 million for free to a woman Indian media identified as Tharoor's girlfriend Sunanda Pushkar.

Modi said Tharoor had asked him not to reveal the shareholding details of the consortium.

Tharoor, an author and a former U.N. official, denied this, but with pressure mounting on Tharoor and Pushkar to come clean on the nature of the deal, Pushkar's lawyer said on Sunday she had decided to give up her allotted stakes.

Tharoor, who issued a statement in parliament, was asked to resign after a meeting of the Congress core committee, including Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi.

"Congress has taken a considered mature decision," said party spokesman Abhisekh Manu Singhvi.

Since winning re-election last May, the Congress-led coalition is on the backfoot in the parliament session.

Reuters

Last Mod: 19 Nisan 2010, 12:29
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