Tamil Nadu Minister Senthilbalaji shifted from hospital to jail

Senthilbalaji was arrested on June 14 for alleged money laundering

Published - July 17, 2023 08:08 pm IST - CHENNAI

V. Senthilbalaji

V. Senthilbalaji

Tamil Nadu Minister without portfolio V. Senthilbalaji, who was arrested last month by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), was shifted to the Central Prison at Puzhal in Chennai on Monday after he was discharged from Kauvery Hospital, where he had undergone a coronary bypass surgery while in judicial remand.

Mr. Senthilbalaji was arrested on June 14 for alleged money laundering, based on a criminal case registered against him by the Central Crime Branch of the Greater Chennai City Police in connection with a cash-for-jobs scam in transport corporations involving him and his associates. The alleged crime was committed when he was Transport Minister during the erstwhile AIADMK government headed by Jayalalithaa. Following his arrest by the ED, he complained of chest pain and was rushed to the Government Multi Super Speciality Hospital at Omandurar Estate in Chennai. On the same day, the Principal Sessions Judge remanded him in judicial custody. Later, doctors suggested that he undergo a bypass surgery as he was diagnosed with three blocks in his heart.

A Division Bench of the Madras High Court, while hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by his wife, ordered that he be shifted to Kauvery Hospital, which was done on June 16. The Principal Sessions Court permitted the ED to subject him to custodial interrogation at the hospital, with certain conditions. However, the ED was unable to interrogate him. On June 21, the Minister underwent the surgery.

The judges of the Division Bench gave a split verdict on the Minister’s arrest by the ED and the habeas corpus petition filed by his wife. The matter was then referred to a third judge. Last week, the third judge ruled that the ED had the power to interrogate him and dismissed the habeas corpus petition filed by his wife.

Against this backdrop, Mr. Senthilbalaji was discharged from hospital on Monday. At 4.45 p.m., personnel from the Armed Reserve and the city police escorted him to the Central Prison. He entered the prison at 5.35 p.m.

Last week, the Principal Sessions Court extended his remand till July 26.

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