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Tamil Nadu: ED to continue to interrogate Senthil Balaji in money laundering case for 3rd day


The Enforcement Directorate is likely to continue the interrogation of Tamil Nadu minister Senthil Balaji for the third day, on Wednesday, from 9 am onwards in connection with a money laundering case at the agency’s Chennai office, sources said. On Tuesday as well sleuths have grilled Balaji for more than nine hours. The Minister for Electricity as well as Prohibition and Excise, Balaji was arrested on June 14 and admitted to a government hospital in Chennai after he complained of chest pains. He was allowed by the Madras High Court on June 15 to be shifted to a private hospital of his choice. He was later taken from the Tamil Nadu government Multi Super Speciality Hospital to Kauvery Hospital at Alwarpet. Doctors attending him recommended bypass surgery.

Since his second remand period was valid till July 19, Balaji was shifted to prison immediately after his discharge from the hospital. Arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a cash-for-jobs scam case, he was taken from Kauvery Hospital to Puzhal prison. The charges date back to his tenure as Transport minister during the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government from 2011 to 2015. The ED submitted a copy of the Supreme Court order before the Sessions Court judge, following which Justice Alli remanded Balaji in the agency’s custody for 5 days, allowing officials to interrogate him at their office.

This order was sent to the authorities in Puzhal prison. Following this, the minister consulted with his lawyer at Puzhal prison. A copy of the same was submitted directly to the office in Nungambakkam and the Enforcement Directorate took some time to take him into their custody. The district court issued a fresh order to produce Balaji on July 12. However, the lawyer representing the minister said that his client needs to be medically checked twice a day. Meanwhile, the ED officials submitted the documents to the prison department, following which Balaji was taken out of the Puzhal prison at 8.40 pm on Tuesday under heavy security.

On Monday, ED questioned the minister for some time. Later, he took medicine and was allowed to rest, considering his medical condition. The ED has been questioning the minister in compliance with a court order. The questioning by the central agency for the third consecutive day is expected to commence at 9 am on Wednesday. Earlier, the Supreme Court dismissed the pleas of Balaji and his wife challenging the Madras High Court’s judgment, holding his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the money laundering case legal.

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