The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday demanded the sacking of Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor in the wake of controversy over Indian Premeir League's Kochi team ownership.
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad also demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into alleged 'misuse' of authority by Tharoor to 'secure' investment made by his friend Sunanda Pushkar in the IPL Kochi team.
"It is a clear case of blatant misuse by a minister of his authority for securing the investment for his friend (in the Kochi IPL team). This is a clear case of corruption and it should be investigated," Prasad said.
"The Prime Minister must sack Sashi Tharoor and entire nature of this transaction must be investigated by the CBI," Prasad told mediapersons at his daily briefing in the BJP headquarters in New Delhi.
He said Tharoor's action was a 'copy book' case of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act as the minister is a public servant.
"From Twitter to corruption is the migration of this enfant terrible of the Congress party," said Prasad.
He rejected Tharoor's contention that he had not invested nor received a rupee for his mentorship of the team. Tharoor, whose friend Sunanda reportedly owns 19 per cent (equivalent of Rs 70 crore) in one of the consortium partners of Kochi IPL team, denied IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi's claim that he had telephoned him (Modi) not to ask details about the shareholders.
Prasad said "Who is saying you have invested? Your friend has been accused of having benefited 17 to 18 per cent in equity shares in Rendezvous Sports World. That is why you have telephoned (Lalit Modi) and stopped him from giving details."
"The issue is a question of propriety and conduct of the minister of the government of India. The issue is a question that involves blatant abuse of authority of the minister and public accountability of a minister," he added.
He said Sunanda has no relationship with Kerala or cricket but only an acknowledged friend of Tharoor. Nobody is denying that Sunanda has been given 17 to 18 per cent of equity in Rendezvous, he said.
"If a minister starts making some kind of a charge directly or indirectly for profit, patronage and protection, then it becomes a copy book case of corruption," Prasad said.
Section 13 (b) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, he said, makes clear that a minister is a public servant and if he abuses his position for himself or for any other person for any pecuniary advantage, it becomes a matter of criminal misconduct.
Prasad said the party was not actually interested in Tharoor's 'personal life' or about the IPL as such except for the fact that his role as a minister was under question.
To a question, he said all the details about the ownership of the Kochi IPL team and the details with the IPL should be made public.