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Guv puts dismissal order of Senthil Balaji on hold

Guv puts dismissal order of Senthil Balaji on hold

Hours after dismissing the arrested minister V Senthil Balaji from the cabinet, Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi on Thursday evening has kept the dismissal order in abeyance until further communication.
He also said that he would be taking advice from the attorney general on the issue based on the advice of the union home ministry.

The letter that was written by the governor to the Chief Minister MK Stalin in the late evening said, “I have been advised by the union minister of home affairs that it would be prudent to seek the opinion of the attorney general. Accordingly, I am approaching the attorney general for his opinion. Meanwhile, the order of dismissal of the minister V Senthil Balaji may be kept in abeyance until further communication from me.”
Days after the minister was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case, the governor dismissed him from the state cabinet.
A statement released by Raj Bhavan earlier on Thursday said, “Minister Senthil Balaji is facing serious criminal proceedings in a number of cases of corruption including taking cash for jobs and money laundering. Abusing his position as a minister, he has been influencing the investigation and obstructing the due process of law and justice.”
Pointing out that the minister is currently in judicial custody in a criminal case that has been investigated by the ED, it said that some more criminal cases against him under prevention of corruption act and the Indian Penal Code are being investigated by the state police.

“There are reasonable apprehensions that continuation of Senthil Balaji in the council of ministers will adversely impact the due process of law including fair investigation that may eventually lead to breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the state. Under these circumstances, the Governor has dismissed Senthil Balaji from the council of ministers with immediate effect,” the statement added.
Political leaders including Stalin and legal experts had opposed the Governor’s move to dismiss Senthil Balaji from the cabinet without consulting the Chief Minister. Stalin said that the Governor did not have the powers to remove a state minister from the cabinet and decided to take legal action in this regard.
Senthil Balaji who was arrested by the ED is in judicial custody till July 12. He had undergone a bypass surgery and is under medical observation at a private hospital in the city. He was arrested in an alleged cash for jobs case when he was the transport minister under the AIADMK regime in 2014. He joined the DMK in 2018. Following the arrest, the portfolios held by him were reallocated to two other ministers and at present, he is the minister without portfolios.

Meanwhile, the habeas corpus petition filed by the minister’s wife alleging illegal detention of the minister is still pending before the Madras High Court.