The Madras High Court on Wednesday rejected the bail plea of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader V Senthil Balaji in a money laundering case, The Hindu reported.

While dismissing the bail application, Justice N Anand Venkatesh noted that Balaji, a former Tamil Nadu minister, has been in jail for more than 250 days. Venkatesh directed the trial court to hold the hearings on a day-to-day basis and complete the trial within three months.

Balaji was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in June for allegedly conspiring with transport corporation officials to appoint candidates recommended by his aides in exchange for money. He then allegedly laundered the proceeds of the crime in violation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.

The law enforcement agency has alleged that bribes worth crores of rupees were taken from candidates in exchange for jobs when Balaji was the transport minister in Tamil Nadu’s previous All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government, from 2011 to 2016.

After the party split in 2017, Balaji joined the rival Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, which is currently in power in Tamil Nadu.

On February 12, Balaji resigned as the state Cabinet minister after the judge asked how he could be in the position while being in judicial custody for so long. He had been a minister without a portfolio since his arrest in June. Before his arrest, he was the minister for electricity, prohibition and excise.

Balaji’s bail applications have been rejected several times. In October, the High Court rejected Balaji’s bail plea that he had moved on medical grounds. He unsuccessfully challenged the High Court’s decision in the Supreme Court in November. The top court had told Balaji that it was not satisfied with his arguments seeking bail on medical grounds and asked him to apply for regular bail.

On January 12, a court in Chennai rejected Balaji's bail plea. The Enforcement Directorate told the court that Balaji, if released from custody, could derail its investigation and threaten witnesses.