CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu governor RN Ravi has accepted the resignation of V Senthil Balaji, who had continued as minister without portfolio after his arrest in June last year by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case, Raj Bhavan said in a statement on Tuesday.
Chief minister M K Stalin recommended the acceptance of Balaji’s resignation on February 12.
“Based on the letter of the Chief Minister…Governor has approved the recommendation and accepted the resignation of Thiru V.Senthilbalaji, Minister, from the Tamil Nadu Council of Ministers,” the Raj Bhavan statement said.
Senthil Balaji’s exit from the MK Stalin-led council of ministers comes a day before a bench of justice Anand Venkatesh takes up his appeal for bail on February 14. A trial court had earlier rejected his bail application.
At a previous hearing on January 20, justice Venkatesh criticised Balaji for continuing in the council of ministers despite being behind bars for 240 days.
Balaji, who switched from the AIADMK to the DMK in 2018, was arrested by ED on June 14 last under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in a case dating back to 2014 when he was transport minister under the AIADMK government.
Governor Ravi issued a controversial order dismissing him from the cabinet after his arrest but had to put his order in abeyance after legal experts insisted that he had no powers. Stalin backed Balaji and decided to let him continue in his team. Later Stalin reallocated his portfolios (electricity, excise and prohibition) citing his ill health.