Rajenthra Bhalaji

Ex-ADMK minister held by TN Police from Karnataka

India News

A TAMIL NADU Crime Branch police team arrested former AIADMK minister K Rajenthra Bhalaji, after a three-week search, from Haasan in Karnataka on Wednesday. The arrest followed a vehicle chase lasting over 15 minutes.

At least six police teams, of 30 officers, had been looking for Bhalaji, who went missing in December second week, in connection with an alleged job scam worth Rs 3 crore. Sources said he kept shifting his base regularly to dodge police.

While he was also said to have changed his appearance, an officer said this was not the case.

Officials said Bhalaji was traced on the basis of a tip-off they got on December 28, and that both AIADMK and BJP leaders are believed to have helped him evade police. Sources said he crossed over to Karnataka using a boat. “They took the river route as there was police patrolling at border checkposts and roads,” an official said.

Bhalaji is accused of taking money to offer jobs in Aavin, the TN State-run milk producer, as minister for dairy development. The first case was registered on a complaint by Raveendran (49), a carpenter from Sattur, who alleged he had paid Rs 30 lakh to Bhalaji for a manager’s job in Aavin.

Another complaint was filed by an AIADMK functionary, Nallathambi, who alleged that he had collected Rs 1.60 crore from different people, on Bhalaji’s instructions, against the promise of jobs in Aavin. He accused Bhalaji of not paying Rs 1.40 crore he had mobilised for different AIADMK programmes, and threatening him in turn.

Bhalaji had gone missing after the High Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea.

Since the DMK government came to power six months ago, five former AIADMK ministers have faced action, on allegations of corruption, disproportionate assets and violations in allotting tenders worth crores.

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