‘ED has joined poll campaign’: Stalin on raids at minister Ponmudy’s property
Hours after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) searched the premises of properties linked to Tamil Nadu Education Minister K Ponmudy, DMK President and Chief Minister MK Stalin on Monday (July 17) mocked the central agency for “joining the election campaign”.
The ED on Monday searched the premises of Ponmudy and his MP son Gautham Sigamani in a money-laundering case. The raids took place at the premises of the father and son in Chennai and in Villupuram.
Reacting to the raids, Stalin told reporters in Chennai before leaving for Bengaluru to take part in the Congress-led Opposition meet that the case against Ponmudy was a false case that was foisted on him nearly 13 years ago during the late J Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK regime.
“ED has joined Governor in campaign”
“The DMK is not worried a wee bit,” he said on the ED searches. Such an action by the ED was usual, ordinary, and a drama enacted to divert attention, he added. People were seeing it all and would give a fitting reply in the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha polls, Stalin asserted.
“As regards Tamil Nadu, Governor RN Ravi is already conducting a poll campaign for us, and now, the ED has joined (the poll scene) and I feel the election work for us will be easy,” Stalin said.
The face-off between Governor RN Ravi and the DMK regime covers several issues, including pending files and Bills, and Ravi has been accused by the ruling dispensation of acting like a BJP functionary.
The charge against Ponmudy
The 72-year old Ponmudy is an MLA from Tirukkoyilur in Villupuram district. His 49-year old son Sigamani is a Lok Sabha member elected from Kallakurichi.
The money-laundering case is linked to alleged irregularities when Ponmudy was the Tamil Nadu mining minister from 2007 to 2011 amid allegations of violation of quarry licence conditions, causing a loss of about Rs 28 crore to the exchequer.
The police had a filed a complaint to probe these charges of alleged corruption against the minister and those linked to him. The Madras High Court in June refused to stay the trial after Sigamani sought relief.
The Tamil Nadu minister is accused of obtaining mining and quarry licences for his son and other family members, and they allegedly quarried red sand beyond the permissible limit.
The High Court had said that there were grounds to presume that the petitioner had committed the offence and hence the trial cannot be stopped.
“This is political vendetta and aimed at testing the DMK’s resolve,” party spokesperson A Saravanan told PTI.
Stalin said it was the AIADMK that was in power continuously for a decade in the state and they did not make any efforts in respect of this case. Recently, Ponmudy was acquitted in another case foisted against him during the AIADMK rule, he said, adding he (Ponmudy) will face the case legally.
The ED had recently initiated similar action against Transport Minister Senthil Balaji in an alleged cash-for-jobs linked money laundering case.
(With inputs from agencies)