Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor on Sunday night resigned after the Congress Core Group decided that he should quit in the wake of a controversy over the IPL Kochi franchise, capping a week-long drama that threatened to suck the government and the party into it.

Mr Tharoor, a newcomer to politics from international diplomacy, was summoned by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to his residence in the evening and asked to tender his resignation.

“Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs, has submitted his resignation from the Council of Ministers to the prime minister today. The prime minister has forwarded his resignation letter to the president with a recommendation that it be accepted,” a spokesman for the prime minister’s office said.
Mr Tharoor got into serious problems after IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi revealed the minister’s friend Sunanda Pushkar had equity stakes in Rendezvous Sports World (RSW), heading the consortium that owns the Kochi team. That Pushkar on Sunday offered to surrender the Rs700 million equity and to quit the RSW but the offer failed to convince the Congress top brass who met at the residence of the prime minister in the evening.

Earlier in the day, Mr Tharoor met the prime minister for 50 minutes to present his side of the story over the controversy.

Besides the prime minister, the meeting was attended by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence Minister A.K. Antony.—Dawn/Times of India News Service