ED conducts fresh searches in money laundering case against TN minister

Minister and his wife have filed two separate petitions in the top court challenging the high court order.

Chennai: The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday conducted fresh searches in connection with its ongoing money laundering investigation against Tamil Nadu minister V Senthil Balaji and others, official sources said.

They said premises linked to some entities being probed in this case and alleged benamidars (in whose name a benami property is standing) were being raided in Coimbatore and Karur.

Balaji continues to be a minister without portfolio in the Tamil Nadu government even after his arrest by the ED on June 14 in a money laundering case linked an alleged cash-for-jobs scam in the Tamil Nadu transport department.

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The federal probe agency told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that Balaji was preventing it from exercising its right of custodial interrogation and the apex court reserved its verdict on the pleas of the DMK leader and his spouse challenging his arrest.

The top court had on July 21 sought the ED’s response on the petitions filed by Balaji and his wife Megala challenging the July 14 order of the Madras High Court upholding his arrest by the probe agency in a money laundering case.

The minister and his wife have filed two separate petitions in the top court challenging the high court order.

The agency had earlier claimed that Balaji allegedly “misused” his office for illegal gratification and “engineered” a job racket scam in the state transport undertakings during 2014-15 with purported kickbacks paid by candidates through his associates that includes R V Ashok Kumar and B Shanmugam.

The ED filed a case of money laundering in September 2021 to probe these allegations and its complaint is based on three Tamil Nadu Police FIRs filed during 2018 and some later years by some of those who failed to get the promised jobs.

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