ED case against Senthilbalaji transferred to special court

Updated - August 18, 2023 12:13 am IST

Published - August 18, 2023 12:12 am IST - Chennai

V. Senthilbalaji

V. Senthilbalaji

The Principal Sessions Court has transferred the money laundering case against Minister Senthilbalaji to the Special Court for exclusive trial of cases against MPs and MLAs.

Principal Sessions Judge S. Alli took on record the prosecution complaint filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

In a statement, the ED said it had filed the prosecution complaint against Mr. Senthilbalaji before the court on Saturday last on the charge of money laundering emanating from the ‘cash for jobs’ scam in the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation and the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai).

The ED had initiated a money laundering investigation on the basis of three FIRs registered by the Central Crime Branch (CCB), Chennai, in the ‘cash for jobs’ scam, in which three chargesheets were filed arraying Mr. Senthilbalaji as the main accused.

The Supreme Court had, through an order dated May 16, directed the Tamil Nadu police to further investigate and file a supplementary chargesheet within two months, and allowed the ED to proceed with its investigation by lifting a stay on the probe issued by a Madras High Court order dated September 1, 2022.

The ED investigation revealed that Mr. Senthilbalaji, the then Transport Minister, abused his official position and, along with his brother R.V. Ashok Kumar and his personal assistants B. Shanmugam and M. Karthikeyan, entered into a criminal conspiracy with the then Managing Directors of State transport undertakings (STUs) and other officers of transport corporations, and obtained illegal gratification from candidates to recruit them as drivers, conductors, junior tradesmen, junior assistants, junior engineers and assistant engineers.

An analysis of bank statements revealed huge cash deposits into the accounts of Mr. Senthilbalaji and his wife S. Megala. Further, the ED had collected incriminating evidence indicating the utilisation of the proceeds of crime and establishing the modus operandi of the scam.

Mr. Senthilbalaji was confronted with the incriminating evidence, but he failed to rebut the same or offer any plausible explanation. Instead, he remained non-cooperative and evasive, the ED said.

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