The Supreme Court on Monday directed DMK minister V Senthil Balaji, arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case, to submit his latest medical reports for examination.
The top court heard an appeal filed by Balaji challenging a Madras High Court order that dismissed his bail plea on October 19, citing concerns that he might influence witnesses if released on bail.
A bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and SC Sharma directed senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing Balaji, to provide the medical reports and scheduled the matter for further hearing on November 28. Rohatgi argued that Balaji is suffering from multiple ailments, highlighting his brain MRI report to emphasize the risk of a stroke if not treated.
The Apex Court noted that the medical condition does not seem to be very serious and appears to be an old problem. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the ED, asserted that these are old, chronic issues.
The high court, in dismissing the bail plea, remarked that based on Balaji’s health report, it did not appear to be a medical condition that could only be addressed if he were released on bail. The high court also cited Balaji’s past conduct, his current position as a minister without portfolio, the abscondence of his brother Ashok Kumar, and an alleged attack on Income Tax Officials by Balaji’s supporters during earlier searches as reasons for its decision.
Balaji was arrested on June 14 by the ED in connection with a money laundering case related to a cash-for-jobs scam that occurred when he was the Transport Minister in a previous AIADMK regime.