New Delhi: Embattled Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor resigned Sunday night, the Prime Minister's Office said, ending a weekl-ong political drama surrounding a controversial IPL financial deal involving his Dubai-based friend Sunanda Pushkar.
"Shashi Tharoor...has submitted his resignation to the prime minister, stepping down from the union council of ministers. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has forwarded the resignation to President Pratibha Patil with the recommendation that it may be accepted," a statement from the PMO said.
Tharoor, 54, a former top UN official, submitted his resignation to Manmohan Singh during a nearly half-hour meeting, the second during the day that saw hectic political activity following the prime minister's return after a weeklong trip to the US and Brazil.
The resignation came soon after top Congress leaders held a meeting with the prime minister and party president Sonia Gandhi and concluded that Tharoor had to go.
The Congress party held a flurry of meetings Sunday attended by senior union ministers, over the row at the centre of which was Tharoor and his 'mentoring' of the Kochi IPL franchise.
Only on Friday, Tharoor had put up a spirited defence of himself in the Lok Sabha, claiming he had done no wrong and not used his office to promote the interest of Pushkar, a businesswoman who got sweat equity worth Rs 7 crore in Rendezvous Sports World, a member of the consortium that won the IPL Kochi franchise.
In a statement to IANS on Wednesday, Pushkar had claimed she too had done no wrong and denied being a proxy for Tharoor - a charge reiterated Sunday by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Tharoor's position became untenable, however, after Pushkar on Sunday gave up her IPL stake, which media reports said had been allocated to her in violation of the company law.
The BJP, which had been demanding the removal of Tharoor, welcomed the move. "This is the victory of truth," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Tharoor's resignation as minister.
The Tharoor drama was one of the worst political crisis to hit the Congress-led government since its return to power in 2009.
It was the year when Tharoor, who in 2006 tried to become the UN Secretary General, returned to India and contested the Lok Sabha election, winning handsomely from Thiruvananthapuram, capital of his home state Kerala.