The Supreme Court on Monday upheld the legality of the arrest of Tamil Nadu minister V Senthil Balaji by the Enforcement Directorate in a money-laundering case, Live Law reported.
A bench of Justices AS Bopanna and MM Sundresh allowed the Enforcement Directorate to take Balaji into custody till August 12, according to The Indian Express.
The central agency had arrested Balaji on June 14 on the allegations of conspiring with transport corporation officials to appoint candidates recommended by his aides. The Enforcement Directorate claimed that crores of rupees were taken as bribes from candidates in exchange for jobs.
Balaji had challenged his arrest before the Madras High Court, which ruled in favour of the Enforcement Directorate on July 14. The ruling was delivered by Justice CV Karthikeyan, who was the third judge to whom the matter was referred following a split verdict by the division bench of Justices Nisha Banu and Bharatha Chakravarthy.
The minister and wife had then filed two separate petitions before the Supreme Court challenging the Madras High Court order. They argued that the investigating agency cannot seek custody after 15 days of arrest.
The Supreme Court dismissed the petitions challenging the legality of the arrest. The court, however, referred a question about whether police custody can be extended beyond the initial 15-day remand period to a larger bench.
The alleged irregularities in the case took place between 2014 and 2015, when Balaji was the state transport minister. He was then a leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. He joined the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in December 2018.
After his arrest, the Madras High Court had dismissed an interim bail petition but allowed Balaji to get treatment for a heart condition.