SC notice to ED on bail plea of Senthil Balaji

The Supreme Court on Monday sought response from the Enforcement Directorate on the bail plea of former Tamil Nadu minister V Senthil Balaji, who was arrested last year in connection with a money laundering case. A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan issued notice to the agency and directed it to file reply by April 29.

The Madras High Court on February 28, while dismissing the bail petition, had said that if he is let out on bail in a case of this nature, it will send a wrong signal and that it will be against larger public interest.

It had said the petitioner has suffered incarceration for more than eight months and therefore, it will be more appropriate to direct the special court to dispose of the case within a time frame.

“Accordingly, there shall be a direction to the Principal Special Court, Chennai, to dispose of the case within a period of three months from the date of receipt of copy of this order,” it had ordered.

The high court ordered that the trial shall be conducted on a day-to-day basis in accordance with the guidelines given by the top court.

Balaji was arrested on June 14 last year by the ED in connection with a money laundering case linked to a cash-for-jobs scam when he was the Transport minister during an earlier AIADMK regime.

The ED had on August 12 last year filed a 3,000-page charge sheet against Balaji.

The high court had on October 19 dismissed Balaji’s earlier bail plea. A local court also dismissed his bail petitions thrice.

William Murphy

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