TN court reserves orders Senthil Balaji's on plea seeking direction to bank in ED case

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Chennai, Jun 10 (PTI) A sessions court on Monday extended former Tamil Nadu Minister V Senthil Balaji's remand till June 14, who was arrested last year by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case and reserved orders on his petitions seeking directions to a bank in connection with the case.

Senthil Balaji was produced by the prosecution before Principal Sessions Judge S Alli through video-conferencing from the Central Puzhal Prison here and the court extended the former minister's judicial custody.

He was arrested by ED on June 14, 2023 in connection with a money laundering case linked to cash-for-jobs scam when he was the Transport Minister during the previous AIADMK regime.

At the time of his arrest, he was the Electricity Minister. Till he resigned from his post in February 2024, he continued as a minister without portfolio. Meanwhile, the judge reserved orders for June 14 on the three petitions filed by Senthil Balaji, after hearing elaborate arguments from both sides.

In one petition, he sought to defer the proceedings in the case till the City Union Bank produces the original counter foils/challans used for making deposits in his account and in the account of his wife.

In another petition, he sought a direction to the City Union Bank, Karur to furnish the list of its employees specifically the clerk, cashier and manager employed from 2012 to 2022 as the ED had 'heavily relied' on the counterfoils issued by the bank, marked as 'Relied Upon Documents (RUD) Nos 16 and 17', which has been allegedly utilised for depositing cash by the petitioner and his wife.

In yet another petition, he sought a direction to the City Union Bank, Karur to furnish the copy of the PAN cards of the depositors covering 'RUD Nos 16 and 17' for the period from the year 2016 to 2022.

Soon after his arrest, Senthil Balaji underwent a bypass surgery at a private hospital. Later, the ED took him into custody for interrogation and following that he was remanded in judicial custody. His remand is being periodically extended by the court.

The ED had on August 12 last year filed a chargesheet, running to 3,000 pages against Balaji.

The Madras High Court had on October 19, 2023 dismissed the bail petition filed by Balaji. His earlier bail applications were dismissed twice by the PSJ. His third bail application was also dismissed by the PSJ on January 12. His second bail application was dismissed by the HC on February 28. His earlier petition to defer the trial was dismissed by the PSJ on February 15. PTI COR VGN ROH