In the early hours of Wednesday, Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister V Senthil Balaji was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with an alleged money laundering case tied to a job racket but soon he complained of chest pain and rushed to a hospital. 

The arrest came after an exhaustive 18-hour interrogation conducted at multiple locations in Chennai and Karur, including Balaji's official residence, his official chamber at the State Secretariat, and his brother Ashok's house.

The case revolves around a job-for-cash scam within the state's transport department, which allegedly took place during Balaji's tenure as Transport Minister in the AIADMK regime from 2011 to 2016.

M K Stalin
M K Stalin

The charges were filed in March 2021, just before the Assembly elections, when Chennai police submitted a chargesheet against Balaji and 46 others, including retired and serving officers from various transport corporations. The charges stem from a recruitment scandal that rocked the state between 2014 and 2015.

Last month, the Supreme Court authorized an investigation, overturning a previous decision by the Madras High Court on September 1, 2022, which had dismissed the ED summons issued to Balaji and others related to a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Senthil Balaji
Senthil Balaji. (Credit: Twitter/ @V_Senthilbalaji)IANS

Following his arrest, a video circulated showing Balaji breaking down as ED officials took him into custody. He was subsequently taken to the Government Multi Super Specialty Hospital in Chennai for a medical examination due to chest discomfort reported after his arrest.

Balaji, who currently serves as the Electricity, Excise, and Prohibition Minister, was arrested under the provisions of the PMLA after extensive searches conducted on Tuesday.

Notably, the ED searches carried out at the minister's chamber in the State Secretariat marked the first of their kind.

Upon learning of Balaji's arrest, senior DMK ministers, including Udhayanidhi Stalin, M Subramanian, E V Velu, and S Regupathy, rushed to the hospital to show their support. However, they were reportedly not permitted to meet the arrested minister.

(With inputs from IANS)