Madras High Court denies bail to Senthil Balaji

In a setback to Tamil Nadu Minister Senthil Balaji, the Madras High Court on Thursday rejected his bail plea in a money laundering case.

Senthil Balaji, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in June, had sought bail on health grounds.

The court, however, denied the request and said that his brother, who is on the run, could potentially tamper with evidence related to the case.

Senthil Balaji had undergone heart surgery after his arrest and was lodged in the Puzhal Central Prison around four weeks after his operation.

The Tamil Nadu minister had claimed that he had been sick and sought bail for treatment at a hospital of his choice. The Enforcement Directorate, however, said it was only a ruse to seek bail.

Senthil Balaji was arrested for his alleged involvement in a cash-for-jobs scam during his tenure as a minister under the late J Jayalalithaa’s government.

The Supreme Court in May cleared the way for the ED to investigate Mr Balaji and others in connection with a Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case.

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The Supreme Court’s order came after it overturned a previous decision by the Madras High Court, which had dismissed the ED’s summons to Mr Balaji and others.