ED secures 8-day custody of Tamil Nadu Minister Senthil Balaji in high-profile money laundering investigation

Tamil Nadu

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been granted an 8-day custody of Tamil Nadu minister Senthil Balaji, who was recently arrested, by a local court in Chennai. This development comes after V Senthil Balaji appeared before the Chennai Metropolitan Session court via video conferencing on Friday, where his bail petition was refused.

In addition to this, the ED has summoned Balaji’s brother RV Ashok Kumar, personal assistant B Shanmugam, and others for questioning next week regarding an alleged cash-for-jobs linked money laundering case. The agency has called them to record their statements under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) at its office in Chennai on different dates.

According to officials, the ED had previously claimed that Balaji misused his office for illegal gratification and orchestrated a job racket scam in the state’s transport undertakings between 2014 and 2015. The alleged kickbacks were paid by candidates through Balaji’s associates, including Kumar and Shanmugam.

Balaji, who is currently in the hospital, has been identified as the “prime suspect” in the cash-for-jobs case by the federal probe agency. The ED’s custody papers also mentioned unaccounted cash deposits of approximately Rs 1.60 crore in the bank accounts of Balaji and his wife.

The case against Balaji and his aides is related to his tenure as the state transport minister in the AIADMK government from 2011 to 2015. It is alleged that they conspired with the managing directors and other officers of state transport undertakings to obtain illegal gratification from candidates seeking employment in the transport corporation during 2014-15.

The ED alleges that the entire appointment process was fraudulent and dishonest, carried out according to the lists provided by Shanmugam, Kumar, and Karthikeyan, as directed by Balaji. Money was collected from candidates on behalf of Balaji, promising them appointment orders, but neither the orders nor their money was returned.

The ED initiated a money laundering case in September 2021 based on three Tamil Nadu Police FIRs filed in 2018 and subsequent years by candidates who were unsuccessful in securing the promised jobs.

It is worth mentioning that this article has been written in English as per your request.

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