Tamil Nadu minister Balakrishna Reddy quits after being sentenced to 3-year imprisonment in 1998 stone-pelting case

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New Delhi | January 8, 2019 11:16 AM

Reddy, who is now the Minister of Youth Welfare and Sports Development in the Tamil Nadu Cabinet, will lose his ministerial post unless he is acquitted by the high court.

P Balakrishna Reddy resigns from K Palaniswami-cabinet. (Photo Source: Balakrishna Reddy/Twitter)

A special court in Tamil Nadu on Monday convicted and sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment state minister Balakrishna Reddy in connection with a 1998 case of damaging public property. The court set up to handle cases against MPs and MLAs sentenced Reddy to three years in prison and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000.

However, the court granted Reddy, who handles the sports portfolio, bail following the judgement and suspended his sentence pending trial in a higher court. However, Reddy is liable to be disqualified as a legislator following his conviction.

Reddy resigned from the Tamil Nadu Cabinet following his conviction, and will appeal against the order in the Madras High Court today, The Indian Express reported. Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit accepted his resignation. Based on the recommendation of Chief Minister E Palaniswami, Purohit reallocated the portfolio of youth welfare and sports development to Thiru KA Sengottiyan, who is the state education minister. Sengottiyan will keep the education ministry.

Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president M K Stalin demanded Reddy’s dismissal from the ministry, describing his conviction as a ‘shame’ for the ruling AIADMK led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami. Besides Reddy, who represents Hosur constituency in the assembly, the court sentenced 14 other accused in the case to three years of rigorous imprisonment. First accused Govinda Reddy, who had led the demonstration organised by the Krishnagiri unit of BJP, was sentenced to five years imprisonment.

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Under Section 8(3) of the RPA, a person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years shall be disqualified for that period and a further six years after release.

According to the prosecution, during the demonstration held by the locals in Hosur in Krishnagiri district, about 300 km from Chennai, the protesters allegedly went on the rampage and clashed with police, damaging several vehicles. Three policemen were grievously injured, five buses were destroyed in stone pelting and a police vehicle and a bike were burnt in the violence. Subsequently, an FIR was registered against 108 people, including Reddy, for various Indian Penal Code offences including rioting and wrongful restraint and under the Tamil Nadu Public Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act.

During the pendency of the trial, as many as 27 accused died. Reddy, who was arraigned as the 72nd accused, had later joined the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). He was elected from the Hosur assembly constituency in the 2016 elections.

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