Cash-for-jobs scam: Madras High Court dismisses second bail plea of former TN Minister Senthil Balaji

Justice N Anand Venkatesh directed the Special Court to conduct the trial preferably on a day-to-day basis and complete it within 3 months.


Published Feb 28, 2024 | 12:31 PMUpdatedFeb 28, 2024 | 12:31 PM

Senthil Balaji high court

The Madras High Court, on Wednesday, 28 February, dismissed the bail petition filed by former Tamil Nadu Minister V Senthil Balaji, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) last year in connection with a money laundering case.

This was the second time in four months that the DMK leader’s plea for relief was rejected by the high court.

Dismissing the petition on Wednesday, Justice N Anand Venkatesh said that since the petitioner (accused) was in custody for about eight months, the Special Court trying Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) cases was directed to conduct the trial preferably on a day-to-day basis and complete it within three months.

Also Read: Chennai court orders issuing notice to ED on Senthil Balaji’s discharge plea

Background on the case

  • Balaji was arrested on 14 June, 2023, by the ED in connection with a money laundering case linked to a cash-for-jobs scam during his tenure as Transport Minister in the earlier AIADMK regime.
  • Balaji switched to the ruling DMK in 2018.
  • Soon after his arrest, he underwent bypass surgery and was later taken into custody for interrogation, followed by judicial custody with periodic extensions.
  • In August 2023, the ED filed a 3,000-page charge sheet alleging corruption in the recruitment process under Balaji’s authority.
  • The Madras High Court dismissed Balaji’s bail petition on 19 October, 2023, citing potential witness influence.
  • On 28 November, 2023, the Supreme Court allowed Balaji to withdraw his medical bail plea, stating the cited ailment is curable.
  • On 12 January, 2024, Principal Sessions Judge S Alli dismissed Balaji’s bail petition for the third time, citing no change in circumstances.
  • In January 2024, Balaji had filed a petition seeking to discharge him from the money laundering case.
  • On 12 February, Senthil Balaji resigned from the Tamil Nadu Cabinet 9 months after ED arrest.