In a relief for V Senthilbalaji, Tamil Nadu Minister for Electricity, Prohibition and Excise, the Madras High Court on Thursday quashed summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to him and two others in connection with a money laundering case.
The ED had initiated a probe against the minister and the other accused on the basis of cases relating to job racketeering registered by the Tamil Nadu Police some years ago.
Senthilbalaji, a party-hopper, was in J Jayalalithaa’s AIADMK Cabinet as Transport Minister when he faced charges of job racketeering. After her death, he had switched over to the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam and from there jumped ship to the DMK and was inducted into the M K Stalin Cabinet last year.
The ED had registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) against him and others in July 2021 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. The action stemmed from three FIRs registered against him by the Central Crime Branch in Chennai a few years ago on accusations of accepting bribes for appointing drivers and conductors to State Transport Corporation buses.
Allowing writ petitions from the Minister and two others seeking to quash the summons issued to them by the ED in April this year, a Division Bench of Justices T. Raja and K. Kumaresh Babu on Thursday gave relief to them. The petitioners had sought to declare as illegal and unconstitutional the investigation initiated against them by the ED on charges of money laundering.