The Madras High Court today ordered a fresh preliminary inquiry by the DVAC into a complaint that Tamil Nadu minister K T Rajendra Balaji had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.
A bench of justices M Sathyanarayanan and R Hemalatha observed that the preliminary inquiry already carried out by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) was not properly conducted and directed the agency to launch the probe afresh by taking the check period from 1996 to 2018, February.
"This court, on a thorough perusal, appraisal and consideration of the materials placed before it, is of the considered view that the preliminary inquiry has not at all been done properly and therefore, it is to be done once again by fixing the check period from 1996 onwards," it said.
The bench, which went through the report of the earlier preliminary inquiry filed by the DVAC, observed that the order was being passed in public interest and also in the interest of purity of administration.
Noting that Rajendra Balaji was currently a minister, the court ordered that the fresh inquiry be conducted by an IPS officer of the rank of superintendent of police, to be nominated by the DVAC director.
It ordered the DVAC director to submit periodical status reports before the court on the progress made during the preliminary inquiry. The first report should be filed in a sealed cover on August 3, it added.
The court noted that though Rajendra Balaji was the vice-chairman of Thiruthangal Municipality in 1996, the DVAC had restricted its inquiry to the check period between 2011 and 2013, when he was a minister in the previous AIADMK government.
The preliminary inquiry ought to have been conducted from 1996 as the local body position he held was also a public office, it said.
The petitioner claimed that Rajendra Balaji, in his election affidavit filed with his nomination papers for the 2011 Assembly polls, had declared that he was not an income-tax assessee and that he did not have a PAN card.
But now, he had purchased properties worth crores of rupees at various places in the state, he alleged.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)