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HomeIndiaJailed Tamil Nadu minister Senthilbalaji resigns from cabinet

Jailed Tamil Nadu minister Senthilbalaji resigns from cabinet

Jailed Tamil Nadu minister without portfolio V. Senthilbalaji, arrested in June last year by the Enforcement Directorate in an alleged money laundering case, resigned from the Cabinet on Monday (February 12).

While well-placed sources in the government confirmed that he had sent his resignation to Chief Minister MK Stalin from Puzhal Central Prison, there was no official communication in this regard at the time of filing this report.

The case has its roots in an alleged cash-for-work scam at the Metropolitan Transport Corporation that took place when Senthilbalaji was Transport Minister (2011-15) in the Jayalalithaa Cabinet.

Also read: Senthilbalaji Case | ED raids TN minister’s house in Karur for second time

Before his arrest, Senthilbalaji held the portfolios of Electricity, Excise and Prohibition. Mr. Stalin had hired him as a minister without portfolio and had assigned issues to two other high-ranking colleagues.

Last month, while hearing his bail plea, the Madras High Court questioned the propriety of Senthilbalaji remaining a minister without portfolio despite being imprisoned for over 230 days in a money laundering case registered by the DE.

What does Senthilbalaji’s arrest mean for the Stalin-led Tamil Nadu government?

Justice N. Anand Venkatesh had wondered how a person could be allowed to continue in the Cabinet even after being imprisoned for so long, when it is considered that even the last employee of the State has been suspended from service if he remains imprisoned for more than 48 hours in a criminal case.

The judge recalled that even the first bench of the High Court, headed by its president, Sanjay V. Gangapurwala, had observed in September 2023 that a minister without portfolio is a constitutional travesty, although the law does not allow a court to order the removal of a certain Minister.

“I don’t want to get into the politics behind his continuation in the Cabinet because I am very, very far from that, but what I am saying is that it does not bode well for the system… This is something that is disturbing. “I and therefore thought that I should not keep it to myself… I think that common sense should prevail in this case because that will have real importance if a decision is ultimately made on this,” the judge told the lead lawyer for he.

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