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Madras High Court Upholds ED's Right To Arrest Senthil Balaji In Money Laundering Case

Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister Senthil Balaji was arrested on June 14 by the ED in connection with a cash-for jobs-scam when he was the Tranpsort Minister in the earlier AIADMK regime. His wife moved a habeas corpus petition before the High Court alleging her husband's detention to be illegal. 

Tamil Nadu Minister Senthil Balaji
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In a setback to jailed Tamil Nadu minister Senthil Balaji, the Madras High Court upheld his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case. Justice CV Karthikeyan passed the ruling in a habeas corpus petition filed by Balaji's wife alleging her husband's detention to be illegal. 

Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister Senthil Balaji was arrested on June 14 by the ED in connection with a cash-for jobs-scam when he was the Tranpsort Minister in the earlier AIADMK regime. Balaji was placed under judicial custody after he was remanded by a sessions court. However, he was eventually shifted to a private hospital after his health deteriorated and was admitted for bypass surgery.

Senthil Balaji's Wife's Petition

Senthil Balaji's wife moved a habeas corpus petition before the High Court for his release. Appearing in the case, Senior Counsel NR Elango had argued that Balaji's arrest had come without prior notice and was illegal.

However, the High Court division bench delivered a split verdict. While Justice Nisha Banu set Balaji at liberty, the other judge disagreed with it. 

The habeas corpus plea filed for Balaji's release is maintainable and should be allowed, concluded Justice Nisha Banu. The ED is not entrusted to get police custody, she held. However, disagreeing with this, Justice D Bharatha Chakravarthy, questioned whether a habeas corpus plea can be maintainable after a remand order. Justice Chakravarthy also argued that no case was made out to show that Balaji's remand was illegal. As such, he held that the habeas corpus plea is liable to be dismissed.

Justice Banu then directed the Registry to place the matter before the Chief Justice for further orders. 

(This is a developing story. More details are awaited.)

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