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Madras High Court Denies Bail For Ex-Minister Senthil Balaji In Money Laundering Case

Madras High Court Denies Bail: The Madras High Court has refused to grant bail to MLA and former Minister Senthil Balaji. He was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in June last year in a case involving money laundering related to cash-for-jobs.

Justice Anand Venkatesh, on Wednesday, stated that there were no strong reasons to approve Balaji’s bail request. Despite this decision, the court acknowledged that Balaji has already spent over 8 months in custody.

In consideration of this, the court has directed the Special court to expedite the trial proceedings and complete the case within 3 months. This means that the trial must be finished within this timeframe.

The court noted that the petitioner, Senthil Balaji, has already spent more than eight months in custody. Therefore, the court deemed it appropriate to direct the Principal Special Court in Chennai to resolve the case within a specific timeframe.

They ordered that Case C.C.No.9 of 2023 must be finished within three months from when they received this order. The trial needs to happen every day, following the rules given by the Supreme Court in the Vinod Kumar Vs State of Punjab case.

Madras High Court Denies Bail

During the proceedings, Senior Advocate Aryama Sundaram, representing Balaji, argued that under Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, it is sufficient for the accused to cast doubt on the evidence presented by the prosecution to be eligible for bail. Sundaram contended that in this instance, the accused has gone even further by challenging the credibility of the sole evidence relied upon by the prosecution.

Balaji claimed that the evidence presented by the prosecution had been tampered with by the agency. However, the court rejected this argument. It stated that the investigation agency had used documents already present in the original offense, which Balaji had never disputed. Additionally, the agency had obtained certified copies of these documents from the court, adding credibility to their authenticity.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) countered Balaji’s argument by stating that the court couldn’t conduct a full trial when considering bail. They also highlighted that despite Balaji resigning from his ministerial position, he still held influence as an MLA and could potentially sway witnesses. The ED emphasized that Balaji’s actions not only violated Article 14 of the Constitution but also disrupted the fair competition for other candidates.

The court’s decision was based on the facts presented. It rejected Balaji’s claim of evidence tampering and emphasized the authenticity of the documents used by the investigation agency. Additionally, it acknowledged the concerns raised by the ED regarding Balaji’s potential influence as an MLA and the impact of his actions on the rights of other candidates.

The court addressed Balaji’s argument that he was no longer a Minister by pointing out that his continued status as a Minister without portfolio for 8 months after his arrest indicated his ongoing influence and support from the ruling party. This suggested that Balaji remained an influential figure despite stepping down from his ministerial position.

The court further observed that Balaji’s continued influence posed a risk of potentially influencing witnesses, especially given his previous attempt to compromise the original offense. This indicated a concern about Balaji’s ability to manipulate the legal process and impact the outcome of the case.

By highlighting Balaji’s prolonged tenure as a Minister and his demonstrated influence within the political realm, the court underscored the significance of his position and its potential implications for the trial proceedings. This reinforced the importance of ensuring a fair and impartial trial process, free from any undue influence or interference.

Also Read: Senthil Balaji: 4 Surprising Turns In A Single Day‚Ķ Latest Updates On The “Case”!

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