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Please grant me bail: Senthil Balaji pleads SC, cites his long custody in ED

The apex court, which was hearing an appeal filed by Balaji challenging the rejection of his bail by the Madras HC, would continue hearing the matter on Thursday.

Senthil BalajiNEW DELHI: Senior advocate, Aryama Sundaram, appearing for MLA and former Minister V Senthil Balaji, on Wednesday pleaded to the Supreme Court for interim bail on the ground that he was in custody of the ED for more than 335 days in the cash-for-jobs money laundering case.

The apex court, which was hearing an appeal filed by Balaji challenging the rejection of his bail by the Madras High Court, would continue hearing the matter on Thursday.

During the course of the hearing today at the Supreme Court, senior advocates Sundaram and also Mukul Rohatgi (appearing for Balaji) requested for an early hearing, saying that Balaji has undergone a Bypass surgery and has been in custody for a long period of time. “Thereby he needs bail for this,” Sundaram told the bench, which did not pass any order and fixed the matter for further hearing to Thursday.

The two-judge bench of the top court, led by Justice Abhay S Oka and Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, observed that a priority hearing could not be given to the former Minister merely on the ground that he has been in jail for more than 335 days as there have been instances where the accused persons have been incarcerated for years under the PMLA provision and yet are not able to seek immediate relief.

When the Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, for the ED, said that he had to appear before a Special Bench regarding the challenge to the GST Penal Provisions, the SC then granted the adjournment at his request to tomorrow. Mehta said that he had to appear before a Special Bench regarding the challenge to the GST Penal Provisions.

In one of the hearings, the ED which is the probe agency in the case investigating the former Tamil Nadu minister, Balaji’s alleged role in a money laundering case arising out of a job racket scam case, opposed his bail plea and said that he played a central and pivotal role in the case.

“The accused (Senthil Balaji) played a central and pivotal role in the job racket scam during the period 2014-2015. He should not be granted bail by the top court,” the ED lawyer had told the apex court’s two-judge bench.

It is to be noted that the Madras HC had ordered that the trial should be conducted on a day-to-day basis in accordance with the guidelines given by the top court.

The Supreme Court had earlier on April first week issued notice to ED and asked the central probe agency to file a detailed reply on the petition filed by Balaji against a Madras High Court order refusing him bail in a cash-for-jobs money laundering case.

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