SC to hear Tamil Nadu minister Balaji’s plea on Nov 28

ByAbraham Thomas, New delhi
Nov 21, 2023 09:38 AM IST

The Supreme Court on Monday said it will hear Tamil Nadu minister V Senthil balaji’s bail plea on November 28

The Supreme Court on Monday told Tamil Nadu minister V Senthil Balaji to produce his latest medical reports while deferring consideration on his plea for medical bail to November 28. Balaji was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in June this year in a cash-for-jobs scam.

Balaji was arrested by theEnforcement Directorate (ED) in June this year in a cash-for-job scam. (PTI)
Balaji was arrested by theEnforcement Directorate (ED) in June this year in a cash-for-job scam. (PTI)

A bench headed by justice Bela M Trivedi posted the matter for next week as senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Balaji agreed to share the latest medical documents with regard to post-operative ailments pursuant to a bypass surgery conducted in June this year.

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The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) minister complained of complications in his brain and heart valves which needed day-to-day monitoring.

The ED represented by solicitor general Tushar Mehta informed the Court that all these problems alleged by the accused were old ailments on which the top court had decided in the past.

The bench, also comprising justice Satish Chandra Sharma, said, “You seek only medical bail. Where are the latest medical reports. What we have seen does not appear serious.”

Balaji had approached the top court against an order of the Madras high court last month denying him medical bail. The HC said, “The health report of the petitioner does not appear to be a medical condition which could be taken care only if he is released on bail.”

The HC judge also considered his past conduct, his present position as Minister without portfolio and the abscondence of his brother Ashok Kumar, coupled with the attack on the Income Tax officials, to draw a conclusion that his release on bail can result in witnesses being influenced.

Rohatgi told the Court that the appeal also raised a legal issue as the HC held that unless you require hospitalization, you cannot get medical bail.

The federal agency had argued in the HC that Balaji’s health is not in grave danger and all necessary medical treatment can be arranged by the jail authorities.

The ED had arrested Balaji on June 14 under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) in a case dating back to 2014 when he was transport minister under the AIADMK government. Since his arrest he has been hospitalised for chest pain and subsequently underwent a heart surgery at a private hospital. He was discharged on July 17 and has since been jailed in connection with the ED case.

On October 10, he complained of chest discomfort, headache and numbness in his left leg and was brought to Chennai’s government-run Stanley hospital and later taken to the prison hospital the same day. Balaji served as electricity, excise and prohibition minister in the state and his portfolio was recently re-allocated by Chief Minister MK Stalin on account of his ill health.

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