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Madras High Court Rejects Tamil Nadu Minister's Bail Plea In Money Laundering Case
- The Madras High Court has denied bail to Tamil Nadu Minister V Senthil Balaji, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case.
- The decision came after extensive arguments, with concerns raised about his health and allegations of financial misconduct related to a cash-for-jobs scheme.
The Madras High Court, in a recent ruling, has declined the bail request of V Senthil Balaji, a Tamil Nadu minister who was apprehended by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering case. The decision was handed down last Thursday. This development follows a series of legal proceedings that have unfolded in this case.
Earlier in the week, the court had deferred its decision on the bail petition submitted by the DMK, who had sought Balaji's release. Justice G Jayachandran, presiding over the case, reserved the order without specifying a set date, after hearing extensive arguments presented by senior counsel NR Elango, who was representing Balaji, and additional solicitor general ARL Sundaresan, representing the ED.
Counsel Elango put forward the argument that Balaji had not fully recovered, even after undergoing bypass surgery. In light of this, he sought Balaji's release on bail to continue necessary medical treatment. Elango referred to a medical report from Stanley Hospital, indicating that medical professionals had identified symptoms of a potential health issue, suggesting the need for further examination by a court-appointed doctor.
Elango also emphasized Balaji's innocence by highlighting his track record of filing income tax returns over the past ten years. He insinuated that Balaji's incarceration might be driven by ulterior motives.
On the other side, senior counsel Sundaresan contended that evidence from a seized pen drive found in Balaji's office revealed that he had received a substantial amount of ₹67.75 crore from the general public. This was in exchange for promises of securing jobs within the state transport corporation. Sundaresan argued that bail could only be considered if there were inadequate facilities available in prison or government hospitals, which, in this case, was not applicable. He mentioned that a principal sessions judge had previously denied bail on medical grounds.
V Senthil Balaji had been arrested by the ED on June 14 in connection with a money laundering case related to a cash-for-jobs scandal. The allegations stem from his tenure as the transport minister during the previous AIADMK regime. Following his arrest, Balaji underwent bypass surgery at a private hospital, after which he was taken into custody by the ED for interrogation. Upon completion of the interrogation, he was placed in judicial custody by principal sessions judge S Alli, where he remains to this day. Notably, the ED had filed a charge-sheet against Balaji, and his previous bail applications had been rejected twice by PSJ Alli.