SC adjourns hearing on ex-TN Minister Senthil Balaji’s bail plea

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday deferred till July 12 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 (SG) Tushar Mehta, the second highest law officer of the Centre representing the Enforcement Directorate (ED), to post the matter for hearing on July 12.

The request was opposed by senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, who appeared on Balaji’s behalf. “How many adjournments will they (ED) take?” asked Rohtagi.

Acceding to SG Mehta’s request, the apex court posted the matter for hearing on July 12 at the end of the board.

Earlier on May 16, the Supreme Court had fixed July 10 for a hearing after it was apprised that the law officer representing the ED was on his legs before another bench dealing with Kejriwal’s petition challenging ED arrest in the excise policy case.

It may be recalled that the top court had 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.

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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