Tamil Nadu Minister Arrested By Probe Agency, Breaks Down At Hospital


The ED brought Mr Balaji to Omandurar government hospital in Chennai for a medical examination.


Tamil Nadu Minister and DMK leader V Senthil Balaji broke down in tears when he was being taken to a hospital for a medical checkup by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) Wednesday morning. The minister has been arrested in connection with an alleged money laundering case.

The ED on Tuesday raided the premises Mr Balaji in connection with the probe. Following the raids, the ED took Mr Balaji for questioning.

On Wednesday, the ED brought Mr Balaji to Omandurar government hospital in Chennai for a medical examination. The scene outside the hospital was one of high drama. The DMK leader, brought to the hospital in an ambulance, was seen crying inside the vehicle as his supporters stood outside shouting slogans against the probe agency.

DMK MP and lawyer NR Elango said on Tuesday that Mr Balaji has been shifted to the ICU of the hospital, adding that the ED has not officially confirmed the arrest.

“There is no clarity if the ED has arrested him. No arrest guidelines have been followed,” he said.

“I saw him (Mr Balaji) when he was shifted to ICU. Doctors are evaluating his health condition. It is a procedure when a person says he has been assaulted the doctor needs to note down all the injuries and will know after seeing the report. Officially we have not been informed (by ED) that he has been arrested,” Mr Elango added.

“Senthil Balaji is undergoing treatment,” said Tamil Nadu Sports Minister and DMK Youth Wing chief Udhayanidhi Stalin. “We would face it legally. The DMK will not be cowed down by the BJP’s intimidation.”

Recently, Income Tax (IT) authorities searched the properties of Mr Balaji’s associates across the state. This came after the Supreme Court gave its nod for ED to continue its investigation into corruption allegations against Mr Balaji for jobs during his tenure as minister during the Jayalalithaa regime. The Supreme Court had also allowed the ED to proceed with its investigation into the alleged money laundering case. 

The ruling DMK had accused the BJP of targeting the party in an act of panic after the BJP’s defeat in the recent Karnataka assembly elections.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin slammed the BJP-led central government for the raids on Mr Balaji and said the party is resorting to “politics of intimidation”.

The ED on Tuesday conducted raids at Mr Balaji’s residence, his office at the Tamil Nadu Secretariat and the premises of his brother and a close aide in Karur district. Chief Minister Stalin condemned the searches at the Secretariat, saying that the BJP’s “politics of threatening their political rivals through backdoor tactics” will not work.

“BJP leadership is enacting ‘politics of intimidation’. BJP’s bid to intimidate through backdoor tactics like ED raids won’t work,” Mr Stalin said as quoted by news agency PTI.

Mr Stalin further said that conducting a raid at the Secretariat is a violation of the federal structure of the country. He said that it does not matter who was raided, but rather that the raid was conducted in a state government office, signalling a clear attempt by the central government to interfere in the affairs of a state government, which is against the principles of federalism.

“It doesn’t matter on whom the raid was conducted, but it matters where the raid was carried out. Union Home Minister has severely criticised DMK in a public meeting in Vellore, and we gave proper counter-argument to all the allegations. Conducting a raid in the Secretariat is against the federal structure,” Mr Stalin said.

A native of Karur district, Mr Balaji is the Minister of Electricity, Prohibition and Excise, and the Karur District Secretary of the DMK.

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