Total proceeds of crime in Senthilbalaji’s case is ₹67.75 crore, ED tells Madras High Court

Additional Solicitor General AR.L. Sundaresan says, ₹30.66 crore had been parked in various places and the rest of the money remains concealed till date

Updated - February 16, 2024 05:46 pm IST

Published - February 16, 2024 12:27 am IST - CHENNAI

A view of the Madras High Court. File

A view of the Madras High Court. File | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) on Thursday told the Madras High Court that the total proceeds of crime in the money-laundering case booked against former Minister V. Senthilabalaji was ₹67.75 crore, not ₹1.34 crore as projected by him before the court.

Opposing his bail plea pending before Justice N. Anand Venkatesh, Additional Solicitor-General AR.L. Sundaresan refuted the charge of ED having arrived at a figure of ₹1.34 crore as the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, could be invoked only for a quantum above ₹1 crore.

“It is not just this ₹1.34 crore, for which the petitioner claims to have accounts, that are the proceeds of the crime. It is actually ₹67.75 crore, of which ₹30.66 crore has been parked in various places and the rest remains concealed...,” the ASG said.

Mr. Sundaresan also refuted the petitioner’s charge of digital evidence in the case having been tampered with and manipulated. He pointed out that all electronic evidence were seized by the Central Crime Branch police in the predicate offence related to the cash-for-jobs scam.

He said that the petitioner had misconceived a Hewlett Packard (HP) hard disk seized from him with a Seagate hard disk seized from the Metropolitan Transport Corporation office in Chennai. Therefore, it would be wrong to claim that a HP hard disk was seized from him, but a Seagate hard disk was produced in court, he added.

Even if it is assumed that there were discrepancies in the electronic evidence, it was a matter to be proved during the course of trial, and could not be raised as a ground for grant of bail, he argued. “We [the ED] are ready for the commencement of trial even tomorrow,” he told the judge.

Pointing out that the only change of circumstance since the dismissal of the previous bail application was that the petitioner was no more a Minister, the ASG said the submission of resignation and its acceptance just a day before the hearing of the present bail petition would not make him non-influential.

“...He might try to win over witnesses. It has been already been done once by making the victims of the scam arrive at a compromise. Such compromise has been deprecated by the Supreme Court,” Mr. Sundaresan pointed out.

Highlighting the antecedents of the petitioner, the ASG said he had 30 other pending cases against him, and his brother Ashok Kumar, a co-accused in the money-laundering case, was still absconding. A mob had attacked Income Tax officials when they attempted to raid Ashok Kumar’s residence last year, he added.

After the ASG concluded his arguments, the judge adjourned the hearing to Monday for Senior Counsel C. Aryama Sundaram to reply on behalf of the bail petitioner.

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