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TN governor puts minister Balaji's sacking in abeyance; to consult AG

Source: PTI
Last updated on: June 30, 2023 00:33 IST
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Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi has decided to keep the dismissal order of state minister V Senthil Balaji in abeyance for the time being and informed Chief Minister MK Stalin about it, sources said on Thursday. 

Photograph: Courtesy, V_senthilbalaji on Twitter

In a late evening communication to the chief minister, the governor said he would consult the attorney general and seek his legal opinion about the move.

The order to dismiss Balaji from the Council of Ministers has been kept in abeyance by the governor until further communication, the sources said.

Earlier, the governor had dismissed Balaji from the Council of Ministers, days after his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate in an alleged cash-for-jobs scam.


Stalin had said the state government would challenge the governor's decision legally.

In an official release, the Raj Bhavan in Chennai had 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 constitutional machinery in the state."

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.

Allies of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, including Left parties, also 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.

Governor Ravi's dramatic move, the likes of which has not been witnessed in recent times, is likely to further intensify the ongoing tug of war between him and the DMK regime over several issues such as the bills awaiting the governor's assent.

Following 47-year old 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 Finance Minister Thangam Thennarasu (electricity) and Housing Minister Muthusamy (excise).

Balaji is currently in judicial custody in a criminal case being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate. A few other criminal cases against him under the Prevention of Corruption Act and IPC are being investigated by the state police.

After his arrest, Balaji had complained of chest pain and was admitted to a government hospital. Later, he underwent a bypass surgery at a private hospital.

On May 31, the governor had sent a letter to the CM asking him to drop Senthil Balaji from the cabinet, and the very next day Stalin had given a detailed reply. 

Ravi had initially returned the file related to reallocation of portfolios to the government, but eventually he gave his consent to the proposal.

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