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regular-article-logo Sunday, 26 May 2024

Tamil Nadu governor R.N. Ravi dismisses V. Senthil Balaji from council of ministers

Balaji 'is facing serious criminal proceedings in a number of cases of corruption, including taking cash for jobs and money laundering'

PTI Chennai Published 30.06.23, 04:07 AM
MK Stalin.

MK Stalin. File picture

Tamil Nadu governor R.N. Ravi on Thursday dismissed minister V. Senthil Balaji from the council of ministers, days after his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in a cash-for-jobs case, a move that Tamil Nadu chief minister M.K. Stalin said the government would challenge legally.

In an official release, the Raj Bhavan said: “There are reasonable apprehensions that the continuation of V. Senthil Balaji in the Council of Ministers will adversely impact the due process of law, including fair investigation that may eventually lead to the breakdown of the Constitutional machinery in the State.”

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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”, the release added.

“Under these circumstances, the Governor has dismissed Senthil Balaji from the Council of Ministers with immediate effect,” the release added.

Reacting to the development, Stalin said governor Ravi had no authority to dismiss a minister from the cabinet. The government will face the issue legally, he told reporters.

Allies of the DMK, including Left parties, rallied behind the ruling party and condemned the actions of the governor. Political analyst Durai Karuna said it was the exclusive prerogative of the chief minister to induct ministers into the cabinet or drop them from the council of ministers.

“In the past about four-five decades, I have not seen or heard of a governor dropping a minister from the cabinet without the recommendation of the chief minister,” he told PTI.

Following Balaji’s arrest early on June 14, he was retained by the government as a minister without portfolio and the subjects held by him were allocated to others.

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