Stalin Snubs Tamil Nadu Governor Again, Senthil Balaji to Continue as Minister Without Portfolio – News18

Last Updated: June 17, 2023, 10:19 AM IST

V Senthil Balaji was arrested by the ED for his alleged money laundering and job racket case. (File pic: Twitter/@V_Senthilbalaji)

While Ravi wanted Balaji to be dismissed from the cabinet as the job scam case is pending against him, the state government said it was up to the chief minister to take a call on the new team

A few hours after Governor RN Ravi released a statement confirming the changes in the Tamil Nadu cabinet and seeking Senthil Balaji’s removal, the state government issued an order changing the portfolios but kept Balaji as a minister without portfolio.

As per the government order, finance minister Thangam Tennarasu will hold additional charge as energy minister and housing minister S Muthuswamy will hold additional charge of prohibition and excise ministries. Balaji will continue as a minister but without any portfolio.

The Raj Bhavan in the release confirmed the changes suggested by the government but in the last line of the release, it wanted Balaji to be dismissed from the cabinet as the job scam case is pending against him.

“The Governor has not agreed to Balaji continuing as member of the Council of Ministers as he is facing criminal proceedings for moral turpitude and is currently in judicial custody,” said the Raj Bhavan release.

However, the government said it is for the chief minister to decide who should be in the cabinet and hence Balaji was retained but without a portfolio.

Meanwhile, the principal district sessions court has allowed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to conduct custodial interrogation for eight days till June 23 in a money-laundering case and dismissed Balaji’s interim bail petition.

Passing the order on a plea filed by ED, principal district court judge S Alli stipulated that the ED should not remove Balaji from Kauvery Hospital where he was shifted from the government hospital but the agency can interrogate him in the hospital, taking into consideration his ailments and the treatment given to him. “The ED must get an opinion of the doctors treating Balaji before deciding to question him,” said Alli.

The court also said the deputy director of ED was directed to provide sufficient food and shelter to Balaji and was restrained from using any third-degree method or causing any cruelty to him.

“No threat or coercion will be made on the accused. The family members of the accused to be permitted to see him during the custody, subject to medical advice,” said the judge.

The court asked the ED to provide security to the accused and produce him at 3pm on June 23 through video conference. The court dismissed a petition from the minister to provide interim bail. “Keeping in view the observations of the Supreme Court in respect of granting interim bail on medical grounds and considering the nature of the case, the court will not release the accused in interim bail,” said the judge.