T.N. Minister Senthilbalaji arrest | AIADMK defends Enforcement Directorate’s actions

AIADMK’s Rajya Sabha MP and former Law Minister, C.Ve. Shanmugam, cited the order of the Supreme Court in May, which paved the way for the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to resume proceedings of the case

Updated - June 15, 2023 09:52 pm IST

Published - June 14, 2023 05:05 pm IST - CHENNAI

AIADMK MP C Ve Shanmugam

AIADMK MP C Ve Shanmugam | Photo Credit: PTI

The AIADMK on Wednesday, June 14, 2023 defended the arrest of Electricity, Prohibition and Excise Minister V. Senthilbalaji in a money-laundering case on the grounds that the move was carried out only on the direction of the Supreme Court. 

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The party’s Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and former Law Minister, C.Ve. Shanmugam, cited the order of the Supreme Court in May, which paved the way for the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to resume proceedings of the case. 

Emphasising that all procedures were duly followed, he gave an account of the sequence of events in the case over the recent months. The Enforcement Directorate had originally issued a summons to the Minister in connection with the money-laundering case, against which the latter went to the Madras High Court and, in September last year, obtained an order quashing the summons.  It was the Supreme Court that ordered the restoration of the complaint, and, last month, set aside, the High Court’s order. 

Pointing out that the ED had all the authority to arrest anyone under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the former Law Minister also said that the law provided for shifting the burden of proof of innocence on to the accused, and not the prosecution. 

Rebutting the criticism that Mr. Senthilbalaji was being targeted for being in the BJP’s opposition, Mr. Shanmugam said that even accepting this was the case for argument’s sake, how would the Opposition parties view what the Congress-led government at the Centre did against the DMK, a constituent party of the regime, in 2010-11 when former Union Minister A. Raja and Member of Parliament Kanimozhi Karunanidhi were arrested in the 2G spectrum case.

Even when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had carried out searches at the office of Kalaignar TV at the complex of the Anna Arivalayam, the headquarters of the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in Teynampet, the seat-sharing negotiations between the DMK and the Congress were in progress, the former Minister recounted.

The AIADMK’s State secretary of the Amma Peravai, R.B. Udhayakumar, criticised the functioning of Mr. Senthilbalaji as Minister for Prohibition and Excise and said the State government had not paid attention to issues being raised by Leader of Opposition and the party’s general secretary, Edappadi K. Palaniswami, especially concerning the matter of illicit liquor and the operation of illegal bars. It was against this backdrop that the present development should be seen, he said.

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