Describing Sunanda Pushkar's decision to give up her stake in Kochi Indian Premier League team as immaterial, Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh immediately sack Union Minister Shashi Tharoor as the matter was now of 'stinking corruption.'
"We demand that the Prime Minister sack Shashi Tharoor immediately. It is a not a case of sweat equity at all. Now it is a case of stinking corruption," BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad told mediapersons in New Delhi.
He maintained that Pushkar, who is a close associate of Tharoor, returning her stake of Rs 70 crore in the Kochi IPL franchise was not enough.
"The stain of corruption is not washed by return of bribe money," Prasad remarked. Citing documents related to Rendezvous Sports World, which is one of the owners of the Kochi team, Prasad asserted that Pushkar was not entitled to sweat equity as per the government rules.
The 48-year-old business executive, based in Dubai, made the dramatic offer shortly after Tharoor had explained to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about his controversial role in 'mentoring' the Kochi franchise.
She offered to give up her 'sweat equity' of nearly 19 per cent in the Kochi franchise. Though Tharoor has denied the charge that he intended to get any financial gain for him or his friend, the opposition is gunning for the removal of the 54-year-old first-time MP from Thiruvananthapuram on the ground that he misused his office to get pecuniary gains for his friend.
Senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi told reporters in Kolkata, "The Centre should investigate the entire IPL issue but before that, Tharoor should resign. If he does not resign, he should be sacked."
The BJP leader said the IPL scam had demonstrated how political leaders and businessmen were manipulating the bids by cricket teams. "This is a serious issue which involves ministers and officials."
"At a time when the country was facing price rise, Maoist problem and terror threat, they are busy converting IPL into an agency for looting public money. Tharoor is a small fry. There are many other players. A correct picture should be presented before the people," Joshi said.