We shall conduct a comprehensive probe in cash-for-jobs cases against Senthilbalaji, police tell HC

Move is following Supreme Court orders in relation to three cases booked against him in connection with the 2014 fraud

Move is following Supreme Court orders in relation to three cases booked against him in connection with the 2014 fraud

Tamil Nadu Police on Thursday informed the Madras High Court of their decision to conduct a full investigation into three First Information Reports (FIRs) filed against Electricity Minister V. Senthilbalaji on charges of job-for-cash fraud 2014 Minister of Transport in Jayalalithaa’s cabinet.

Judge GK Ilanthiraiyan was told that on September 8 this year the Supreme Court overturned the High Court’s order to set aside one of the three cases, finding: “The State should have carried out a full investigation into the entire fraud without accusing the accused allow a case to be fished out as if it were a private money dispute.”

Therefore, police will conduct a full investigation into all three cases, prosecutors told the judge when presented with motions to overturn the other two FIRs. Additional Prosecutor E. Raj Thilak read the orders issued by the Supreme Court and said the orders were being followed in word and spirit.

Judge V. Ramasubramanian, who wrote the Supreme Court’s order, had expressed surprise that the Supreme Court vacated one of the three cases last September after accepting a compromise reached between the applicant and the accused. He also wondered why no reference was made to the Corruption Prevention Act in this case.

The judge pointed out that police had collected materials showing that in 2014 the minister ordered government officials to send all applications for the posts of driver, conductor, handyman, junior engineer and assistant engineer to an email id he operated forward assistant B. Shanmugam.

While 12,675 candidates took part in the interview, only 2,209 were given appointment orders from the list presented by the Minister, although there were 5,542 other suitable candidates. In addition, the police had claimed that many of the notes on the appointments were made without any date.

Therefore, “persons who paid money but did not receive an appointment order were not the only victims. More deserving individuals who were not selected because they were ousted by candidates who paid money are also victims of the alleged corrupt practices if those allegations are eventually proven,” the judge noted.

Directorate of Enforcement (ED) Special Prosecutor N. Ramesh told Judge Ilanthiraiyan that the Supreme Court also ordered the police to suspend the stay in the other two cases. He said the ED could only bring money laundering charges against the minister if the stay in both of those cases were lifted.

Noting the seriousness of the issue, the judge said he would take those cases to the hearing himself on Friday. However, Senior Counsel S. Prabakaran, representing the Minister, requested a brief adjustment for the appearances of other Senior Counsel and had the hearing adjourned until September 29.

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