NEW DELHI: During Monday’s 14-hour searches on Tamil Nadu higher education minister K Ponmudy and his son P Ashok Sigamani, an MP, ED seized large amounts of cash, including substantial amounts of foreign currency, and froze fixed deposits in entities connected to the minister, official sources said.
Responding to the consecutive searches on state ministers by ED, chief minister MK Stalin dismissed them as mere drama aimed at diverting public attention. “As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, the governor is running an election campaign. Now, the enforcement directorate has joined him,” he said.
DMK asserted that the case for which the ED conducted searches on Ponmudy’s properties is over a decade old and was initiated by the AIADMK government under J Jayalalithaa’s leadership.
The searches targeted Ponmudy’s properties in Chennai and his constituency in Villupuram, necessitating the assistance of central forces during the operation. The ED operation came more than a week after Ponmudy and his family members were acquitted in two disproportionate assets cases by courts in Villupuram and Chennai.
The Madras high court recently refused to close the mining case, originally filed by Villupuram crime branch, against Ponmudy, his son, other family members, and aides. The minister has been charged with causing a loss of Rs 28 crore to the state exchequer by awarding contracts to people close to him.
Coinciding with the searches on Ponmudy and his associates, minister Senthil Balaji has been shifted from hospital to prison.
Opposition leaders, including Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge, condemned the ED searches.


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