Chennai, May 20: The ''Telephone tapping issue'' claimed its first victim in Tamil Nadu, with the government accepting the resignation of Social Welfare Minister Dr Poongothai, who was caught in a ''phone tapping controversy,'' trying to rescue her relative trapped in a bribe case.
Dr Poongothai, daughter of former minister Aladi Aruna, had put in her papers on May 14, after Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy released to the media, details of her telephonic talks, requesting the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) Chief to provide succour to her relative, working in State Electricity Board, who was caught in a corruption case.
A week after she submitted her resignation, Governor S S Barnala, on the advise of the Chief Minister, relieved her from the cabinet and appointed Animal Husbandry Minister Ms Geetha Jeevan, as the new Social Welfare Minister.
The subject of Animal Husbandry, held by Ms Geetha Jeevan has been re-allocated to Rural Industries Minister Pongalur Palanisamy, in addition to the subjects held by him. He has been redesignated as Minister for Rural Industries and Animal Husbandry, a Raj Bhavan communique here said.
This was probably, the first time, in the history of state politics that a minister had to step down, after being caught in a phone tapping case.
In the alleged telephonic conversation, Dr Poongothai had told the DVAC Chief that Mr Jawahar, who was caught in a trap case, was her relative and being the sole bread winner of the family, he could be provided succour.
She had suggested that the DVAC could refer the case back to the Electricity Board.