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IT Conducts Raids At Premises Of People Having Ties With Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister PMLA Hooch Tragedy Cash For Jobs Scam

A clash broke out between DMK workers and Income Tax (IT) officials during a raid at the premises of Tamil Nadu Minster Senthil Balaji’s brother Ashok in the Karur district. Raids are being conducted across Tamil Nadu at around 40 locations at residences of government contractors and offices of those who have an alleged connection with the State Electricity & Prohibition and Excise Minister. Raids are being conducted at the moment in Chennai, Karur, and other places.

Balaji has been facing the heat after the Supreme Court allowed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to continue its probe against him in the cash-for-jobs scam in which he is accused of taking bribes to provide jobs when he was the transport minister (2011-2015) in the previous AIADMK government. He is also under the heat since the toll in the twin Hooch tragedies rose to 22. 

Balaji had earlier said that he was being targeted for political reasons however he would still cooperate with the ED probe. A senior DMK leader while talking to the Hindustan Times asked, “He has not been found guilty and investigations are going on for which he is cooperating so why should he be removed?”

Supreme Court Overturns High Court’s Verdict

The Supreme Court allowed the investigation against Tamil Nadu Electricity, Excise, and Prohibition Minister V. Senthil Balaji in the cash-for-job scam of 2011-15 by the police and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). According to IANS, a Supreme Court bench of Justices Krishna Murari and V Ramasubramanian said that an offense of corruption, criminal activity and the generation of the proceeds of crime are like Siamese twins.

“Even if an intangible property is derived as a result of criminal activity relating to a scheduled offense, it becomes proceeds of crime under Section 2(1)(u)… we are not impressed with the contention that the investigation by ED was triggered without any foundational/jurisdictional facts.”

In an 89-page judgment on behalf of the bench, Justice Ramasubramanian said, In our view, the allegations in the FIR point out to (i) involvement of persons in criminal activity relating to scheduled offences; (ii) the generation as well as (iii) laundering of the proceeds of crime within the meaning of Section 3. This is in view of the fact that wherever there are allegations of corruption, there is the acquisition of proceeds of crime which itself tantamount to money-laundering.”

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