Tamil Nadu Minister V Senthil Balaji. | Image: IANS
The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice on a plea by Tamil Nadu Minister Senthil Balaji challenging the Madras High Court's order, which allowed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to take him into custody in connection with an alleged cash-for-jobs scam in the state. The matter witnessed a split verdict by the two-judge bench, with conflicting views on whether the ED had the authority to make an arrest.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal appeared on behalf of Minister Balaji and passionately presented his case before the SC. He contended that the ED's custody was unjustified and raised concerns over the lack of clear provisions in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) regarding judicial custody.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the ED, defended their actions, asserting that "we can make an arrest as section 19 empowers us." He further stated that the purpose of the arrest was for additional investigation into the alleged scam. He highlighted the significant number of individuals who had paid money to the accused, emphasising the need for a thorough investigation. Mehta also clarified that the PMLA does not provide for judicial custody.
Due to the split verdict, the matter required resolution, which was achieved when a third judge intervened and settled the conflicting views of the two-judge bench.
The case is set to be taken up again on July 26, providing both parties with ample time to file their written submissions.