The Madras High Court on Tuesday (july 4) ordered a split verdict in the Senthil Balaji Case. DMK minister Senthil Balaji is facing a money laundering case and was arrested by ED last month. The split verdict means that a third judge will now hear the case.
DMK Rajya Sabha MP and senior advocate NR Elango, speaking after the split verdict, commented on the verdict and said, "As of now, the status quo continues because of the split verdict. One of the judges accepted our plea that ED has no power to seek police custody. It has been held by one of the judges that it is a case of illegal arrest," said Elango. He said that one of the judges added that ED has the right to arrest but not the right to seek police custody.
Political storm over Balaji's arrest
The arrest of Senthil Balaji had led to a political storm in the state of Tamil Nadu. The DMK minister was arrested by ED on June 14, and CM Stalin had immediately hit out at the BJP government at Centre and Governor RN Ravi, accusing the governor and Central government of trying to intimidate the state government by using agencies. The dramatic scenes post the arrest of Senthil Balaji following ED raids was captured live on camera with the DMK leader crying and writhing in pain. CM Stalin met the leader in the hospital as a symbol of his support to Balaji.
Row after governor dismissed Senthil Balaji from cabinet (Governor took back his decision)
Last week, Tamil Nadu governor RN Ravi had dismissed Senthil Balaji from the cabinet. Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin had called the Governor's decision a step taken in haste with "scant regard for the Constitution." The governor had taken back his decision but in a five-page letter to CM Stalin had called the CM's support for Senthil Balaji as "unhealthy bias".