Minister in K Palaniswami cabinet, P Balakrishna Reddy was imprisoned in a riot case related to a protest against illicit liquor at Hosur in 1998. His resignation letter has been accepted by Governor Banwarilal Purohit.
Chennai: Hours after he was sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment by a special court here in a two-decade old riot case, Tamil Nadu minister P Balakrishna Reddy resigned from the K Palaniswami-Cabinet on Monday.
His resignation from the post of Youth Welfare and Sports Development minister was accepted by Governor Banwarilal Purohit. As suggested by chief minister K Palaniswami, KA Sengotttaiyan has been given Balakrishna's portfolio. Sengotttaiyan is also the minister of School Education.
Balakrishna Reddy was sentenced in the case related to a protest of illicit liquor at Hosur in 1998.
"Based on the recommendation of the Chief Minister, the Portfolio of Youth Welfare and Sports Development has been allocated to KA Sengottaiyan, Minister for School Education who shall be re-designated as Minister for School Education, Youth Welfare and Sports Development," the release said.
In a jolt to the AIADMK government, a special court Monday sentenced Reddy to three years rigorous imprisonment in a two-decade old riot case related to a protest of illicit liquor in Hosur.
Youth Welfare and Sports Minister Reddy, then a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member, was convicted by special judge for cases against MPs and MLAs J Shanthi in the case related to the protest staged on September 30, 1998.
The judge, however, accepted a plea of the minister's counsel and stayed the sentence enabling him to file an appeal in the Madras High Court.
Opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president M K Stalin demanded Reddy's dismissal from the ministry, describing his conviction as a 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 rigorous imprisonment.
First accused Govinda Reddy, who led the demonstration organised by the Krishnagiri unit of the BJP, was sentenced to five years imprisonment.
All the accused, including the minister, were present in the court.
Speaking to reporters later, the minister said he would file an appeal in the high court on Tuesday.
"In 1998, over 30 people died after consuming spurious liquor. This was followed by a road blockade, and the case was filed in connection with that," he said.
Reddy faces disqualification as an MLA in view of the conviction unless it is stayed by a higher court.
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, 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, a 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.
The trial, proceeding in a local court, was transferred to the special court set up in September last year following a Supreme Court order to expedite cases against elected representatives.
In its first conviction, the special court on December 28 held former DMK MLA guilty in a rape case and sentenced him to ten years rigorous imprisonment.
With PTI inputs
Last Updated 4:51 PM IST