Tamil Nadu: Arrested minister Senthil Balaji resigns ahead of bail hearing, say sources

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) initiated legal proceedings against him, focusing on a cash-for-job case initially filed by the Central Crime Branch police in Chennai.

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In a significant turn of events, Tamil Nadu's Minister V Senthil Balaji has tendered his resignation just before his scheduled bail plea hearing at the Madras High Court. This decision, as per sources, comes amidst mounting legal troubles stemming from his involvement in a money laundering case dating back to his tenure as the transport minister under the previous AIADMK regime.

Senthil Balaji's arrest on June 14 last year sent shockwaves across the political spectrum. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) initiated legal proceedings against him, focusing on a cash-for-job case initially filed by the Central Crime Branch police in Chennai. 

Sources within the ruling DMK party have confirmed Balaji's resignation, attributing it to the ongoing legal challenges surrounding his tenure. Notably, Chief Minister MK Stalin has reportedly urged Governor TN Ravi to remove him from the cabinet, signaling a shift in political dynamics.

Despite Stalin's previous decision to retain Senthil Balaji in the Tamil Nadu cabinet as a show of support, the Madras High Court has expressed reservations. In a recent statement, the High Court emphasized the need for adherence to public morality, good governance, and constitutional principles, suggesting a reconsideration of Balaji's position.

The legal battle has been an uphill struggle for Balaji, with lower courts repeatedly denying his bail requests. His upcoming bail plea hearing at the Madras High Court represents a crucial juncture in his legal journey, as he seeks relief from the charges leveled against him.

Nonetheless, Balaji's arrest by the ED unfolded dramatically, with hours of questioning culminating in his hospitalization due to chest pain. This followed raids conducted by the Income Tax Department, which shed light on allegations of bribery spanning from 2011 to 2015 within the state transport department.