High Court grants conditional bail to former minister Senthil Balaji

Presently a DMK MLA, Balaji is facing an investigation into his role in a jobs case

Chennai: Former minister Senthil Balaji and his brother have won anticipatory bail from the Madras High Court in a case pertaining to a job racket.

The conditions for the bail are that the two men surrender their passports and execute a bond for Rs 50,000 each along with two sureties each for a like sum.

Balaji, now a DMK MLA, is being probed by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) for allegedly promising jobs to people in the state transport corporation and cheatingn them out of Rs 2.31 crore when he was transport minister previously.

During proceedings in Justice Audikesavalu's court Wednesday, Balaji's counsel Saravanan had argued that he police were using coercive tactics such as affixing search notices at his residence and directing him to appear before the investigating officer and to open the locks of his Chennai residence. Court orders not to use coercion were being flouted, he said.

The public prosecutor A Natarajan countered that CCB did obtain permission from the magistrate to conduct searches of Balaji's residence.

The search was part of the investigation, and the police duly informed Balaji that he or his authorised representative could be present during the search. Therefore, this was not coercion, Natarajan said.

The court refused any relief to Balaji.

In proceedings on Friday, the state prosecutor produced a copy of the summons issued to Balaji and his brother requiring them to appear for deposition.

Justice Audikesavalu ruld that anticipatory bail be granted to the brothers but directed them to appear before the Investigating officers as required.

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