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6 police teams search for Tamil Nadu ex-minister accused in job scam

🔴 Bhalaji is accused of cheating several job-seekers by allegedly taking bribes after offering them jobs in Aavin, the state-run milk producer.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai |
Updated: December 19, 2021 5:06:25 am
Rajenthra BhalajiBhalaji is accused of taking money to offer jobs in Aavin, the TN State-run milk producer, as minister for dairy development. (Facebook/Rajenthra Bhalaji)

At least six police teams are searching for Rajenthra Bhalaji, former Tamil Nadu minister and senior AIADMK leader who is accused in a job scam estimated at Rs 3 crore and is reportedly on the run.

Bhalaji, who held the portfolio of milk and dairy development in the previous AIADMK government in the state, is accused of cheating several job-seekers by allegedly taking bribes after offering them jobs in Aavin, the state-run milk producer.

The High Court rejected his anticipatory bail pleas on Friday.

Sources close to Bhalaji’s family said police on Friday night had picked up Bhalaji’s nephew, driver and another relative for questioning. On Saturday, the former minister’s sister moved a petition in Madras High Court, complaining about police harassment. The urgent plea moved by Bhalaji’s sister stated that her son and driver were illegally detained, and that police let them off a few minutes before her petition was to be heard in HC.

Hearing the plea, Madurai bench of the HC warned police against harassing Bhalaji’s family members in the name of questioning them.

The case was adjourned for further hearing.

Bhalaji is accused of involvement in two cheating cases to the tune of Rs 3 crore. The first case was registered in November 15 based on a complaint by one Raveendran (49), a carpenter from Sattur who alleged that he had paid Rs 30 lakh to Bhalaji, who was then a minister, for a manager’s job in ‘Aavin’. He alleged that he paid the money through a former AIADMK functionary, Vijay Nallathambi, and the party’s Virudhunagar East district secretary, Ravichandran. Bhalaji is the second accused in the case.

Another complaint against the former minister was filed by Nallathambi himself, alleging that he had collected Rs 1.60 crore from different people, as allegedly instructed by Bhalaji, promising them jobs in Aavin. According to the complainant, the cash was handed over to Bhalaji and his accomplices.

The complaint also alleged that Bhalaji did not repay him Rs 1.40 crore, which he had mobilised to spend on different AIADMK programmes, as allegedly instructed by Bhalaji. The complainant alleged that he had received death threats from Bhalaji and his men.

The second case identifies Bhalaji as the first accused and names four other associates.

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