Hours after Tamil Nadu Youth Welfare and Sports Development Minister P Balakrishna Reddy was convicted in a 1998 case for damaging public properties, he stepped down from his post in what came as an embarrassment for the ruling AIADMK government in the state. Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has accepted the Ministerâ€™s resignation, assigning the portfolio instead to School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan.
In a statement to the media on Monday, the Raj Bhavan said, â€śThe Hon'ble Governor of Tamil Nadu has accepted the resignation of Thiru P Balakrishna Reddy, from the Council of Ministers. Based on the recommendation of the Chief Minister the Portfolio of Youth Welfare and Sports Development has been allocated to Thiru KA Sengottaiyan, Minister for School Education who shall be re-designated as Minister for School Education, Youth Welfare and Sports Development.â€ť
The resignation came shortly after Balakrishna Reddy visited the residence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, where the duo reportedly consulted Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan and Advocate General Vijay Narayan.
The special court in Chennai, handling cases against MLAs and MPs, sentenced Balakrishna Reddy to a three-year jail term with a fine of Rs.10,000, paving the way for his disqualification as a member of the legislative assembly.
However, the Minister was granted bail by the court following the conviction, and the sentence was suspended pending trial in a higher court. Reports suggest that he will be approaching the Madras High Court on Tuesday. However, in view of his conviction, he promptly stands disqualified as an MLA as per the provisions of the Representation of People Act.
The case pertains to a case of protest near Hosur in 1998 when members of the public agitated against spurious liquor being brewed in the region. According to reports, 108 members were accused of throwing stones at government vehicles including police vans. There were allegations of arson against the protesters. Over 20 years later, 16 demonstrators were convicted in the case.