A call to ban and probe the funding source of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament grew louder in parliament on Monday, a day after Shashi Tharoor quit the government over his controversial link to the IPL Kochi franchise.
Opposition MPs in the Lok Sabha termed IPL as "gambling" in the name of cricket and alleged that black money stashed in foreign banks was invested in the IPL.
Speaker Meira Kumar allowed the matter of "urgent importance" to be raised during the zero hour.
Communist Party of India (CPI) MP Gurudas Dasgupta said the matter did not stop at Tharoor resigning as minister of state for external affairs.
"The minister's resignation is not the issue. The issue is the IPL. We have not gone into the route. Issue is laundering of money. All this is happening under the nose of the government of India," he said.
Stressing that the shorter Twenty20 version of cricket was not in the interest of the sport, Dasgupta said: "Cricket is being maligned in the country. Wrong message is given to the budding cricketers to join the Twenty20 and earn crores."
"Black money is coming from Mauritius and Dubai through dubious sources and betting is going on openly…It is a only a game of gamble, an organised gamble."
"The IPL may be banned and a thorough probe ordered," he added.
The CPI leader also called for a joint parliamentary committee to probe the source of IPL funding.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad said the opposition wasn't targeting Tharoor but had demanded that "murky IPL business of shame and glamour" be probed to know where the money comes from and where it goes.
"Why target Tharoor only? The main culprit is this IPL. This is a gambling and betting business. There are bigwigs involved. The entire network should be probed," Lalu Prasad said.
The RJD leader demanded that the government take over the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), a private consortium and the apex governing body for cricket in the country.
When Lalu Prasad asked for a probe into the multi-million dollar cricket tournament, Speaker Meira Kumar cautioned him against naming anybody.
"Oh, I am sorry…I mean a top IPL official has purchased a jet and has huge wealth. This should be probed," he said.
Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav said the "foreign sport" was being wrongly promoted in the country at the cost of national games.
Janata Dal-United president Sharad Yadav raised the same demand. "You have removed your minister. It doesn't stop there."
The demand from the opposition comes after embattled Tharoor Sunday night stepped down over his links to the IPL Kochi franchise. He resigned after a weeklong drama after it was disclosed that his friend Sunanda Pushkar had received a sweat equity worth Rs.70 crore in the deal.