In a blow to the AIADMK government, cabinet minister Balakrishna Reddy was convicted on Monday by a special court in connection with a 1998 case for damaging public properties. The court which handles cases against MLAs and MPs sentenced him to a three year jail term and fined him Rs.10,000, paving way for his disqualification as a member of the legislative assembly.
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 stands automatically disqualified as an MLA as per the Representation of People Act.
Section 8 of the RP Act deals with disqualification on conviction for certain offences: A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for varying terms shall be disqualified from the date of conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release. In addition to this, the convicted leader cannot continue to be a member of Parliament or the State Legislature.
Case against Reddy
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.
This is however not the first case against the Minister in High Court. In September 2018, a woman from Krishnagiri district moved the Madras High Court alleging that he had made attempts to grab land.
According to a Times of India report, Anjana Reddy, who hails from Hosur, approached the Madras High Court stating that land belonging to her family was illegally transferred to Balakrishna Reddy's family.
Anjana had claimed that she owns 32. 87 acres of agricultural land in Kempasandram village that originally belonged to her grandfather, Petha Hanuma Reddy, who bought it in 1885. She had alleged that the land had been transferred to the Minister's relatives by district revenue officials.