Tamil Nadu Minister and DMK leader V Senthil Balaji broke down in tears when he was being taken to a hospital for a medical checkup by the Enforcement Directorate (ED on Wednesday morning. The minister has been arrested in an alleged money laundering case. The ED on Tuesday raided Mr Balaji’s home before taking him away for questioning. The minister was arrested on Wednesday morning after hours of questioning.
As the probe agency took Mr Balaji for a medical examination after the arrest, there were dramatic scenes at a government hospital in Chennai. The DMK leader was seen weeping copiously in an ambulance as his supporters outside shouted slogans against the Enforcement Directorate.
“He is in the ICU. He was in an unconscious state and did not respond when he 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,” DMK leader PK Sekar Babu said.
“Senthil Balaji is undergoing treatment,” said Tamil Nadu Sports Minister and DMK Youth Wing chief Udhayanidhi Stalin. “We would face it legally. The DMK will not be cowed down by the BJP’s intimidation.”
Mr Balaji’s wife has moved the Madras High Court against his arrest. The High Court has agreed to an urgent hearing of the case. The DMK leader’s wife has alleged that the arrest was made without any notice or summons. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin visited Mr Balaji at the hospital.
Recently, Income Tax (IT) authorities searched the properties of Mr Balaji’s associates across the state. This came after the Supreme Court allowed the Enforcement Directorate to continue its investigation into cash-for-jobs allegations against Mr Balaji dating back to when he was a minister during the Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK regime. The Supreme Court had also allowed the agency to proceed with its investigation into the alleged money laundering case. Mr. Balaji is the Minister of Electricity, Prohibition and Excise, and the Karur District Secretary of the DMK.