The Madras High Court on Thursday dismissed the bail petition filed by arrested minister V Senthil Balaji.
Minister Senthil Balaji was arrested by the ED on June 14 in a money laundering case. It is alleged that the minister had been involved in a cash-for-job scam when he was the transport minister during the AIADMK regime.
As he complained of chest pain shortly after the arrest, he was admitted to the government hospital at Omandurar in the city around 2 am. There, he underwent a coronary angiogram and doctors advised him to undergo a by-pass surgery because of a blockage in three blood vessels.
After the High Court gave its nod, the minister was transferred to Cauvery hospital in the city on Thursday night. Following the surgery, he was lodged in Puzhal prison.
After the Supreme Court dismissed his Habeas Corpus petition and refused to interfere in the matters of the High Court, he filed a bail petition before the court. The Court in turn dismissed the petition both times and extended the minister’s judicial custody till October 20 during the last hearing.
The minister filed a bail petition once again pointing out his health condition and claimed that he fell sick when he was at the prison and had undergone treatment at the government Stanley hospital.
When the petition came up for hearing before Justice G Jayachandran on October 16, senior advocate NR Ilango, who appeared for the minister, argued that doctors had warned that Senthil Balaji might get cardiac arrest again and urged the Court to appoint doctors to check his health condition.
He also argued that it has become evident from his bank statements and income tax declarations that Senthil Balaji is innocent and yet he was prisoned due to political reasons.
Additional solicitor general ARL Sundaresan who appeared for the ED, argued that e-documents recovered from his house during the raids revealed that the minister had obtained Rs 67.75 crore from people after promising to get government jobs.
He also pointed out that doctors at Stanley hospital had not mentioned about the need of availing treatment from private hospitals and at a time when the minister’s brother Ashokkumar is absconding, it is not advisable to grant bail to
After hearing the arguments, the Court adjourned the case without mentioning a date. The case was taken up for hearing on Thursday by Justice Jayachandran. He said, “One cannot obtain bail for medical reasons. It is important to consider the facts that Ashokkumar is still absconding and the ED officials investigating the case were attacked in previous instances.”
Since the minister’s judicial custody comes to an end on October 20, he will be produced before the principal sessions court through video conferencing.