Probe reveals 2.49-acre land was acquired for Rs.10 lakhs instead of the land’s true value of over Rs.30 crore
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) recently carried out search operations in Karur (Tamil Nadu) in connection with the ‘cash-for-job scam‘ involving the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporations.
The primary accused in the case is, V Senthil Balaji, who served as the transport minister during 2011-15.
It said that during the investigation, it was revealed that a substantial parcel of land admeasuring 2.49 acres located at Salem Bypass Road, Andankovil, Karur was acquired by P Lakshmi (mother-in-law of Senthil Balaji’s brother RV Ashok Balaji, alleged accused in the matter) from one Anuradha Ramesh for a mere Rs.10 lakh, as against the land’s true value amounting to more than Rs.30 crore.
However, while scrutinizing the income source of P Lakshmi, it was revealed that she lacked any credible means of income. Her assertion of selling old jewelry to secure Rs.10 lakh for the land purchase was proven to be fictitious. Subsequently, this plot of land was gifted to her daughter Nirmala, wife of Ashok Balaji.
Upon further investigation, it was disclosed that the remaining sum required for the land acquisition was paid in cash to Anuradha Ramesh. This cash, in turn, was employed by Anuradha Ramesh to procure another piece of land in the same vicinity. Considering these developments, the said property has been placed under a freeze order by section 17(1-A) of PMLA.
Tamil Nadu Minister V Senthil Balaji was earlier arrested on June 14 for his alleged involvement in a money laundering case.
The ED initiated an investigation based on three FIRs registered and charge sheets filed by the Central Crime Branch (CCB), Chennai, in the ‘cash-for-job scam arraying V Senthil Balaji as the main accused. V Senthil Balaji in collaboration with his brother Ashok Balaji, and his personal assistants B Shanmugam and M Karthikeyan, gave jobs in lieu of cash. This led to jobs being awarded at the expense of deserving candidates.
Despite multiple summonses issued to Ashok Balaji, Nirmala, and P Lakshmi, they are yet to appear in person, demonstrating a lack of cooperation with the ongoing investigation.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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