The Enforcement Directorate on Monday conducted raids at the premises of DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy and his MP son Gautham Sigamani in a money laundering case, official sources said.
The raids are being undertaken at the premises of the father-son duo in state capital Chennai and in Villupuram, they said while the ruling DMK dubbed the action ‘political vendetta.’ The 72-year old minister is an MLA from the Tirukkoyilur Assembly seat in Villupuram district while his 49-year old son Sigamani is a Member of Parliament representing the Kallakurichi seat.
The money laundering case is linked to alleged irregularities when Ponmudy was the state mining minister (between 2007 and 2011) and there were allegations of violation of quarry licence conditions leading to loss of about Rs 28 crore to the exchequer.
The state police had a filed a complaint to probe these charges of alleged corruption against the minister and those linked to him and the Madras High Court in June refused to stay the trial in this case after Sigamani approached it with a petition for relief.
The minister is accused of obtaining mining/ quarry licences for his son and other family members and the licencees are alleged to have quarried red sand beyond the permissible limit.
The High Court said that there were grounds to presume that the petitioner has committed the offence and hence the trial cannot be stopped.
On a day when DMK president and Chief Minister M K Stalin was scheduled to take part in the Congress-led Opposition meet in Bengaluru, TN’s ruling party said under Stalin’s leadership it has been playing a pivotal role in taking on the BJP and the ED action is aimed at ‘intimidating’ it.
“This is political vendetta and aimed at testing the DMK’s resolve,” party spokesperson A Saravanan told PTI.
There has been no action from Central authorities against the AIADMK leaders on graft cases such as the one involving the Gutka scandal, he alleged.
The ED had recently initiated a similar action against another minister in the cabinet of Chief Minister M K Stalin after it arrested Transport Minister Senthil Balaji in an alleged cash-for-jobs linked money laundering case.
Stalin and the DMK have slammed the action against Balaji as “intimidation politics” by the Centre.
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