The Supreme Court has granted permission for the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to investigate the Cash-For-Job Scam involving a Tamil Nadu Minister. The Madras High Court order to halt the investigation has been set aside.
Investigation to Proceed under Prevention of Corruption Act
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Investigation Officer will proceed with further investigation in all cases, including offenses under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act. The court’s decision allows for a comprehensive probe into the cash-for-job scam, which took place between 2011 and 2015 and allegedly involves Tamil Nadu Electricity, Excise, and Prohibition Minister V. Senthil Balaji. The police and the ED will carry out the investigation.
Corruption and Proceeds of Crime
The Supreme Court bench, consisting of Justices Krishna Murari and V. Ramasubramanian, emphasized the close connection between corruption, criminal activity, and the generation of proceeds of crime. The court clarified that even intangible property derived from criminal activity related to scheduled offenses can be considered proceeds of crime under Section 2(1)(u) of the law. The court rejected the argument that the ED’s investigation lacked foundational or jurisdictional facts.
Upholding Allegations and Importance of Investigation
Justice Ramasubramanian, in an 89-page judgment, highlighted the allegations made in the First Information Report (FIR), indicating the involvement of individuals in criminal activity related to scheduled offenses, the generation of proceeds of crime, and the laundering of such proceeds. The court emphasized that allegations of corruption inherently involve the acquisition of proceeds of crime, which amounts to money laundering. It stressed the significance of continuing the investigation.
Set Aside Madras High Court Order
The Supreme Court also set aside the Madras High Court order that directed the termination of the investigation. The court asserted that the Investigation Officer must carry out further investigation in all cases involving offenses under the Prevention of Corruption Act. Failure to do so could result in the court considering the appointment of a Special Investigation Team in the future.
Background of the Cash-For-Job Scam
The cash-for-job scam originated from a case filed in 2018 by Arulmani, who alleged that the former Transportation Minister Senthil Balaji accepted bribes from job seekers under the false pretense of providing employment opportunities in the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC).
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