Arrested Tamil Nadu minister V Senthil Balaji has resigned ahead of his bail plea hearing in the Madras High Court, sources have said.
Mr Balaji was arrested on June 14 last year in a money laundering case initiated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) based on a cash-for-job case filed by the Central Crime Branch police, Chennai, when he was the transport minister during the previous AIADMK regime.
Sources within the ruling DMK party confirmed Mr Balaji’s resignation, citing the ongoing legal imbroglio surrounding his tenure. “Chief Minister MK Stalin has urged Governor TN Ravi to drop him from the cabinet,” they said.
Mr Balaji had been retained in the Tamil Nadu cabinet by Mr Stalin as a show of support. The Madras High Court, however, has taken a dim view of that move. The High Court recently said Mr 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.
Despite repeated requests, lower courts have denied bail to Mr Balaji. His bail plea will be heard for the second time by the Madras High Court in two days.
Mr Balaji was arrested by the EDin a dramatic fashion. He was taken into custody following hours of questioning and hospitalised immediately after complaining of chest pain.
This was after the Income Tax Department conducted raids of its own in connection with claims he had taken bribes between 2011 and 2015 from people looking for jobs in the state transport department.