Madras HC refuses to quash FIRs against Tamil Nadu minister V Senthil Balaji, Legal News, ET LegalWorld – Legal Firms

CHENNAI: In a setback to state electricity and prohibition minister V Senthil Balaji the Madras high court has refused to quash cases registered against him in connection with a job racketing case. It, however, nullified earlier probe done into the complaints registered during the previous AIADMK regime, and, instead, ordered fresh proceedings.

“The investigation officer shall conduct a de-nova investigation without reference to the earlier investigation on record,” said Justice Sivagnanam. The issue pertains to a case registered against Senthil Balaji in 2017 in connection with a job racket allegation.

Justice V Sivagnanam said, “The investigation should be conducted ab initio comprehensively covering all the aspect arising out of the case, including as to whether the offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act is made out against the accused.”

Rejecting the minister’s plea to quash the FIRs on Monday, the court also directed the investigation officer to provide relevant materials to the Directorate of Enforcement if they make out a case for cognizance of the offence against the accused so that the ED can invoke its jurisdiction to commence inquiry under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

According to the prosecution, the minister, his brother and personal assistant had collected several lakhs of rupees from many individuals on the promise of obtaining government jobs as drivers, conductors and technicians in state transport corporations when he was transport minister in the 2014 AIADMK government.

On September 8, the Supreme Court set aside an order passed by the high court quashing one of the three FIRs registered against the minister on the basis of a compromise reached between the accused and the victims.

This apart, the Supreme Court directed the state to take appropriate steps to get the stay issued by the high court against the proceedings pending before the trial court proceedings in the other two connected cases and prosecute the cases properly.

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