Senthil Balaji, the minister of electricity, excise, and prohibition for Tamil Nadu, was interrogated by Enforcement Directorate (ED) agents in the early hours of Wednesday in relation to a money laundering case before being brought to the intensive care unit (ICU) of a government hospital. High drama was seen outside the public hospital when Balaji was taken for a checkup. While lying in a car with his followers gathering nearby to protest the ED action, the minister was spotted grimacing in pain.
There have been rumours that the minister has been detained by the economic intelligence agency, but there has been no official confirmation of this. DMK supporters who visited the hospital have also expressed confusion over this, saying there is still no clear answer.
“I saw him (Senthil Balaji) when he was shifted to ICU. Doctors are evaluating his health condition. It is a procedure when a person says he has been assaulted the doctor needs to note down all the injuries and will know after seeing the report. Officially we have not been informed (by ED) that he has been arrested,” DMK MP and lawyer NR Elango said.
P K Sekar Babu, a state minister, asserted that Balaji exhibits “symptoms” of having been “tortured.”
DMK minister Udhayanidhi Stalin said, “Senthil Balaji is undergoing treatment.”
“We will deal with it legally. We are not afraid of the threatening politics of the BJP-led central government,” he added.
Balaji was detained by the central investigative agency for interrogation in the money laundering case and then sent to the Omandurar government hospital for a medical examination. Balaji, according to DMK leaders, didn’t appear to be conscious when the ED took him to the hospital.
As his supporters gathered at the hospital to denounce the ED’s action, a Rapid Action Force (RAF) unit was sent there.
The minister’s official residence in Chennai, his office at the state secretariat, as well as the minister’s places of business in his hometowns of Karur and Erode, were all raided by ED officers on Tuesday. Before joining the DMK in 2015, Balaji served as the transport minister of the AIADMK-led government from 2011 to 2015. These charges are the basis of the prosecution against him.