SC defers hearing on Ex-TN Minister Senthil Balaji’s bail plea till May 15

The Supreme Court on Monday deferred till May 15 hearing on the bail plea of DMK leader and former Tamil Nadu Minister V. Senthil Balaji, who was arrested last year in connection with a money laundering case linked to an alleged cash-for-jobs scam.

A bench presided over by Justice Abhay S. Oka was requested by Solicitor General Tushar, the second highest law officer of the Centre appearing for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), to post the hearing on a non-miscellaneous day, saying that arguing the case would take more time.

Notably, days other than Monday and Friday are classified as non-miscellaneous days in the apex court, when regular hearing is undertaken by different benches.

Senior advocate Aryama Sundaram, appearing for Balaji, apprised the Bench, also comprising Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, that the DMK leader has remained in custody since June last year.

In an earlier hearing, the top court declined to pass any interim order staying the February 28 order of the Madras High Court, which had dismissed Balaji’s bail petition.

However, it issued a notice to the ED and sought the response of the central agency within four weeks.

In its order, a bench of Justice N. Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court observed that even if Balaji had resigned from his position as a Minister, he continues as an MLA belonging to the ruling party in Tamil Nadu and continues to wield a lot of influence on the state government.

The high court had asked the trial court to complete the trial within three months by conducting the proceedings on a day-to-day basis.

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Balaji was arrested by the ED in June last year and has remained in judicial custody since then.

In November last year, the Supreme Court had declined to entertain Balaji’s plea seeking bail on medical condition remarking that it was not satisfied with his illness and his medical condition could be cured with medicines.

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