Nearly eight months after his arrest in a money laundering case, Tamil Nadu minister V Senthil Balaji has reportedly resigned from the state cabinet on Monday (12 February).
Senthil was arrested in June last year under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) in a case initiated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) based on a cash-for-job case filed by the Central Crime Branch police, Chennai, dating back to 2014 when he was transport minister under the AIADMK government.
His resignation comes ahead of his bail plea hearing in the Madras High Court after a trial court had rejected his application.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin has urged Governor TN Ravi to drop him from the cabinet, NDTV reported citing DMK sources.
After his arrest in June last year, he was hospitalised for chest pains and subsequently underwent a heart surgery at a private hospital. He was discharged on17 July and has since been jailed in the Puzhal central prison.
Balaji had been reportedly retained in the Tamil Nadu cabinet by Stalin as a show of support.
The Madras High Court, however, took a dim view of that move.
The High Court recently said Stalin might be better advised to rethink his position.
"Political compulsion cannot outweigh the public morality, requirements of good/clean governance and the Constitutional morality," a bench led by Chief Justice SV Gangapurwala said, NDTV reported.
Despite repeated requests, lower courts have denied bail to Balaji.
His bail plea will be heard for the second time by the Madras High Court this week.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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