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Updated July 17th, 2023 at 16:17 IST

ED recovers Rs 70 lakh, foreign currency worth Rs 10 lakh in raids against DMK's Ponmudy

A case was filed against the minister, his son, and his relatives under the Prevent of Corruption Act with the aid of section 120B of the IPC.

Piyush Gupta
Ponmudy
Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy (R) with Chief Minister MK Stalin. (Photo: Twitter/@KPonmudiMLA) | Image:self
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The Enforcement Directorate recovered Rs 70 lakh in cash along with foreign currency from the residences of Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister Ponmudy and his MP son Gautham Sigamani in raids conducted in connection with a money laundering case on Monday, July 17. According to sources, pound and US dollars worth Rs 10 lakh were also recovered during the multiple raids.

The accused were not able to explain about the source of money recovered, the ED said. The raids are being undertaken at the premises of the father-son duo in state capital Chennai and the hometown Villpuram district, sources said; while the ruling DMK dubbed the action 'political vendetta’. 

According to Chief Minister MK Stalin, these activities are part of a planned strategy by the ruling party BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) to draw attention away from the conference of opposition parties in Bengaluru.

Stalin said that the Centre's governing party is using the ED to try to cause unrest as a result of their concerted attempts to overthrow it. He stressed that the DMK (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), the dominant party in Tamil Nadu, is unfazed from its actions.
 

The 72-year old minister is an MLA from the Tirukkoyilur Assembly seat in Villupuram district while his 49-year old son Sigamani is a Member of Parliament representing the Kallakurichi seat. 

Second raid in two months

The fact that Minister Ponmudy is the second member of the MK Stalin Cabinet to have his office searched by the Enforcement Directorate in the last two months has shocked the DMK administration, which is in power in the state. Minister Senthil Balaji had already been searched by the ED, which then arrested him at the conclusion of the searches.

The timing of the searches has further increased tension within the state's governing administration because Chief Minister MK Stalin is travelling to Bengaluru today to attend an opposition gathering. More information is awaited in the matter. 

Sources claim that the Enforcement Directorate has submitted an ECIR (Enforcement Case Information Report) in the ongoing investigation against the Minister involving unlawful sand mining. 

This lawsuit relates to the period between February 13, 2007, and May 15, 2011, while he served as the DMK government's Minister of Mines and Minerals. Additionally, he is charged with trying to persuade officials to provide licences for illicit mining during that time.

The Tamil Nadu government suffered a loss of Rs. 28.36 crore as a result of illegally mining red sand without paying a seigniorage fee, and Minister Ponmudy, his son MP Gautham Sigamani, and his relatives were prosecuted in this matter. Ponmudy is accused of misusing and abusing his authority as a minister.

A case was filed against the minister, his son, and his relatives under the Prevent of Corruption Act with the aid of section 120B of the IPC. The Tamil Nadu Crime branch, which was initially investigating this case, has in fact produced documents related to the case in court that show by illegally mining 2,64,600 lorry loads of red sand, a loss of Rs. 28.36 crores had been incurred to the state.

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Published July 17th, 2023 at 16:17 IST

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