WATCH - TN Minister Senthilbalaji arrested by ED after 17-hr long raids, breaks down in hospital

Wednesday, 14 June 2023 (10:49 IST)
Chennai: After a 17-hour long raids, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials have arrested Tamil Nadu Electricity, Excise and Prohibition Minister V.Senthilbalaji in a money-laundering case.

The minister broke down in tears when he was being taken to a hospital for a medical checkup by the ED Wednesday morning after complained of chest pain.

#WATCH | Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister V Senthil Balaji breaks down as ED officials took him into custody in connection with a money laundering case and brought him to Omandurar Government in Chennai for medical examination

— ANI (@ANI) June 13, 2023

Even as several ministers and ruling DMK MLAs and party cadres started visiting the hospital to enquire about his health condition, sources said Mr Senthilbalaji was arrested.

Reports said, after treatment, he is likely to be produced before the Principal Sessions Court later today for remand.

Reports also suggest that he might be taken to New Delhi for a detailed interrogation.

A large posse of police personnel and armed Central forces were deployed at the hospital.

Before leaving the hospital, Mr Udhayanidhi said the DMK would face it legally.

"We will not be cowed down by such intimidations from the BJP", he said.

Earlier in the day, ED raided Mr.Senthilbalaji’s chamber in the State Secretariat, and his official residence in the city and other places linked to him in Karur and Coimbatore in connection with an alleged money-laundering case.

This is the first time the Central agency has entered Fort St. George, the seat of power, targeting a Minister, after 2016, when IT officials searched the chamber of then Chief Secretary Rama Mohana Rao.

The raids were held at more than 10 locations including at the premises of the Minister's brother V.Ashok, his personal assistants and others.

Though official confirmation was awaited about the arrest, DMK sources said it was not clear whether the Tamil Nadu Governor and the Assembly Speaker's nod were obtained for the arrest as per the norms before arresting a Minister.

The arrest followed after the ED officials completed their searches at his Chamber in the State Secretariat, that started around noon and continued for about 14 hrs till early this morning.

The raids were being conducted in connection with money laundering case related to a job racket that allegedly took place when Mr.Senthilbalaji had served as Transport Minister during 2011-15 in AIADMK regime led by Ms J.Jayalalithaa.

It was alleged that bribe was sought for jobs in the transport department and recently, the Supreme Court cleared the decks for probe, saying, “the investigation officer is to proceed with further investigation in all cases (though Mr Balaji said he had returned the money collected from the people promising jobs).” (Inputs from UNI)

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