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Tamil Nadu Minister Senthil Balaji Sent to Judicial Custody Till 28 June

The ED arrested Balaji late Tuesday night, after a long questioning session related to a money laundering case.

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A sessions court sent Tamil Nadu Minster V Senthil Balaji to judicial custody till 28 June, on Wednesday, 14 June, in connection with a money laundering case.

This comes after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested him on Tuesday night, after a long session of questioning regarding the same.

Following the 18-hour-long questioning, Balaji was taken in a car for medical check-up at Government Multi Super Specialty Hospital in Chennai at 2 am, Wednesday.

Video of Balaji seemingly crying and being carried into the hospital has been making the rounds, with allegations of torture and an illegal arrest being made by leaders of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).

On Wednesday, 14 June, Balaji underwent a coronary angiogram which revealed a "tripple vessel disease," as per the government hospital's bulletin. The minister has now been recommended to get a bypass surgery at the earliest, ANI reported.

DMK Rajya Sabha MP NR Elango told ANI, “Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister V Senthil Balaji was picked up by ED and brought to Omandurar government hospital. It seems he was not conscious when he was admitted to the hospital. It is totally illegal and unconstitutional arrest. We will fight it legally.”

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Earlier on Tuesday, ED officials raided the premises linked to Balaji and questioned him in a case that pertains to allegations when he was the transport minister during the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam-led (AIADMK-led) government, from 2011 to 2015, before he switched to the DMK.

The action came months after the Supreme Court allowed a police and ED probe into an alleged cash-for-jobs scam against him.

The minister was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the government hospital after he complained of chest discomfort.

"He is in the ICU. He was in an unconscious state and did not respond when we called him by his name. He is under observation... there is a swelling near his ear, doctors say there is variation in his ECG (electrocardiogram)...these are symptoms of torture," state minister PK Sekar Babu was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vice president Narayanan Thirupathy termed it a "complete drama" by the ruling DMK and said it was the duty of Balaji to cooperate with the law enforcement agency.

"Much drama, screenplay, and dialogues are happening today in Tamil Nadu. This is not good for Tamil Nadu or DMK. I demand CM MK Stalin to dismiss Senthil Balaji from his ministry immediately and ask him to cooperate with the probe," Thirupathy told ANI.

Condemning the late-night arrest, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said, "This is nothing but political harassment and vendetta by the Narendra Modi government against those opposed to it. None of us in the Opposition will be intimidated by such brazen moves.”

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Topics:  Congress   Tamil Nadu   DMK 

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