A Chennai court has rejected the bail petition filed by Tamil Nadu minister V Senthil Balaji in a money laundering case, Live Law reported on Wednesday.
The Enforcement Directorate had arrested Balaji on June 14 on allegations of conspiring with transport corporation officials to appoint candidates recommended by his aides.
The central agency alleged that crores of rupees were taken as bribes from candidates in exchange for jobs when Balaji was the transport minister in the previous All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government.
Following the split in AIADMK in 2017, Balaji joined the rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which is currently in power in Tamil Nadu.
On Wednesday, principal sessions court judge S Alli noted that the allegations against Balaji showed that he had a definite role in the bribery case.
His bank account statements showed that Balaji received Rs 1.34 crore as “proceeds of crime” between financial years 2013-’14 and 2021-’22, the judge noted. The minister’s wife also received Rs 29.55 lakhs between financial years 2014-’15 and 2019-’20.
The judge added that Balaji did not fulfill the twin conditions for the grant of bail under Section 45 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The twin conditions require that the public prosecutor be given an opportunity to oppose a bail application under the money laundering act. Further, if the court decides to grant the bail, there must be reasonable grounds for believing that the accused is not guilty and is unlikely to commit any offence while on bail.
“The court is not inclined to grant bail to the petitioner on merits and also on medical grounds,” said the judge.
In July, Balaji had challenged his arrest before the Madras High Court, which ruled in favour of the Enforcement Directorate. The ruling was delivered by Justice CV Karthikeyan, 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 his wife had then filed two separate petitions before the Supreme Court challenging the Madras High Court order. The top court dismissed the petitions challenging the legality of the arrest in August.