In a significant development amid ongoing legal turmoil, Tamil Nadu Minister V Senthil Balaji has tendered his resignation ahead of his scheduled bail plea hearing in the Madras High Court. Sources reveal that the decision comes amidst mounting pressure stemming from his arrest last year in connection with a money laundering case initiated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
Mr. Balaji’s arrest on June 14, 2023, sent shockwaves through the political landscape, with the ED acting on allegations of a cash-for-job scheme during his tenure as the transport minister under the previous AIADMK regime. Despite attempts to secure bail, lower courts have repeatedly denied his plea, prolonging the legal battle.
Sources within the ruling DMK party confirmed Mr. Balaji’s resignation, citing the ongoing legal quagmire surrounding his tenure. The decision follows Chief Minister MK Stalin’s call to Governor TN Ravi, urging for Mr. Balaji’s removal from the cabinet, indicating a shift in political stance.
Mr. Balaji’s retention in the cabinet by Mr. Stalin, initially seen as a show of support, has faced scrutiny from the judiciary. The Madras High Court recently questioned the decision, emphasizing the need for ethical governance and adherence to constitutional principles over political considerations.
The upcoming bail plea hearing, slated for the second time in two days, underscores the gravity of the situation. Mr. Balaji’s arrest, marked by a dramatic sequence of events including prolonged questioning and subsequent hospitalization due to chest pain, has drawn public attention to allegations of corruption and malfeasance.
The legal saga surrounding Mr. Balaji gained momentum following raids conducted by the Income Tax Department, shedding light on alleged bribe-taking during his tenure between 2011 and 2015. As the political and legal battle unfolds, Mr. Balaji’s resignation marks a significant chapter in Tamil Nadu’s political landscape, highlighting the intersection of governance, accountability, and judicial scrutiny.