CM Stalin wants Ponmudy to be re-inducted to cabinet, Guv Ravi stalls move

Even though CM Stalin has requested Governor RN Ravi to administer the swearing-in of Ponmudy, the latter wants to get legal opinion stating the stay from the apex court is interim.
K Ponmudy, former Tamil Nadu Minister and senior DMK leader
K Ponmudy, former Tamil Nadu Minister and senior DMK leader
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Days after former Tamil Nadu Minister and senior DMK leader K Ponmudy's conviction in the disproportionate assets case was stayed, Governor RN Ravi has put on hold the state government’s move to re-induct him to the cabinet. Ravi has also sought legal opinion on re-inducting Ponmudy to the cabinet. 

After the Supreme Court on March 11 stayed his conviction and suspended the three-year sentence in jail in a disproportionate assets case, on March 13, Ponmudy was reinstated as a legislator. M Appavu, the Assembly Speaker, revoked the notification that declared Ponmudy's Assembly constituency vacant.  

Later, on the same day, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin sought an appointment from Ravi to administer the swearing-in for Ponmudy on Wednesday or Thursday. However, Ravi stalled the move and asked whether it was legally appropriate to re-induct Ponmudy when his conviction and sentence got an interim stay and were not set aside by the apex court. As per reports, Ravi sought a legal opinion on this matter from experts. Early morning on March 14, Ravi went to Delhi on a three-day planned visit. This move is likely to further delay reinstating Ponmudy into the cabinet.  

In 2011, the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption registered a case against Ponmudy and his wife Visalakshi. The charges against them were that the couple amassed wealth disproportionate to their source of income when Ponmudy was the minister of higher education and mines in the DMK regime between 2006 and 2011. 

In 2016, the trial court had acquitted the duo. However, Justice G Jayachandran of the Madras High Court (MHC) found that Ponmudy and his wife had 65% disproportionate assets. The court, on December 21, 2023, sentenced Ponmudy and Vishalakshi to three years of imprisonment and fined each of Rs 50 lakhs. Ponmudy was also disqualified as a legislator as per section 8(1) of the Representation of the People Act and the higher education portfolio which was held by Ponmudy was reallocated to Minister RS Rajakannappan. 

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