SC adjourns former TN minister Senthil Balaji bail plea till May 6

Lawyer told the bench that they have filed their reply in the matter.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned till May 6 the hearing on the bail plea of former Tamil Nadu minister V Senthil Balaji, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate last year in connection with a money laundering case.

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan deferred the matter after a lawyer appearing for the agency sought an adjournment saying Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was not available.

The lawyer told the bench that they have filed their reply in the matter.

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Senior advocate Aryama Sundaram, appearing for Balaji, urged the bench to hear the matter and contended that he had been inside jail for 320 days.

The bench said it has not gone through ED’s reply in the case and posted the matter for hearing on May 6.

The top court on April 1 sought a response from the ED on Balaji’s bail plea while issuing notice to the agency.

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

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

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 in connection with a money laundering case linked to a cash-for-jobs scam when he was transport minister during an earlier AIADMK regime.

On August 12 last year, the ED filed a 3,000-page charge sheet against Balaji.

On October 19, the high court dismissed Balaji’s earlier bail plea. A local court had also dismissed his bail petitions thrice.

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