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PMLA case: Chennai court dismisses Senthilbalaji's plea

The court extends his judicial custody till tomorrow (February 16).

PMLA case: Chennai court dismisses Senthilbalajis plea

V Senthilbalaji (File)

CHENNAI: The Principal Sessions Court in Chennai on Thursday dismisses the plea of jailed DMK leader V Senthilbalaji seeking to stay the framing of charges against him and trial in the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case.

The Principal Sessions Judge S Alli, wrote that the deferred petition lacks merit, it has been filed to protract the proceedings, which deserves to be dismissed.

The Seasions Judge cited the Apex Court's directions to monitor the trial of the cases, involving MPs and MLAs and wrote that the trial courts shall not adjourn the cases except for rare and compelling reasons. Therefore, the court arrived at a conclusion that the court has to proceed with the framing of charges and then with the trial, read the judgment.

The deferred petition was filed by Senthilbalaji stated that till the disposal of the case registered against Senthilbalaji by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) on an allegation of promised government jobs in the transport department by receiving bribes, the framing of charges in the PMLA case may be postponed.

Senior counsel S Prabhakaran appeared for the former Minister and contended that if his client is discharged from the case registered by the CCB, then there will be no proceeds of crime, then the PMLA case registered by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) will be automatically infructuous. Further, the ED has not furnished the materials seized and the evidence was tampered against his client, he added.

The counsel who appeared for ED stated that Senthilbalaji is attempting to stall the trial proceedings by filling the deferred petition, which amounts to gross abuse of the process of law.

The court extends his judicial custody till tomorrow (February 16). He is likely to appear in person before the court tomorrow.

Senthilbalaji, who has been in prison since June 14 last year in connection with the PMLA case probed by the ED, resigned from the State Cabinet two days ago.

Just a day after resigning from the Minister's post, Senthilbalaji renewed his bail plea before the Madras High Court in the PMLA case where senior counsel Aryama Sundaram claimed that the digital evidence seized from his client's home by the ED officials was tampered.

Meanwhile, the ED urged the Madras High Court to order a speedy trial instead of accepting his plea to grant bail until the completion of trial.

(With inputs from Bureau)

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