Sufficient material for framing charges against Senthil Balaji in cash-for-job scam; Madras High Court upholds trial court’s order

Madras High Court

   

Madras High Court: In a criminal revision petition filed by Tamil Nadu electricity minister V. Senthil Balaji to set aside the order of the Trial Court related to cash-for-job scam, V.Sivagnanam, J. found no infirmity in the said order and no reason for interference, thus dismissed the said petition and has ordered a fresh enquiry into the case involving irregularities in the appointment in State Transport Corporation. V. Senthil Balaji was functioning as Tamil Nadu Transport Corporation Minister when recruitment for the various posts were conducted in the Transport Corporations in the State of Tamil Nadu, and complaints were made that in the said appointments, various officials of the Transport Corporation colluded severally and jointly with him in the matter of appointment of candidates, in the process of recruitment and committed malpractices and irregularities by abusing their official positions. The respondent/police prosecuted the petitioner for having committed the offences punishable under Sections 406, 420 and 506(i) of Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’).

Senthil Blaji submitted that he has nothing to do with the appointments as he is not an appointing authority, and the board of appointment committee alone empowered to make appointments from the eligible candidates participated in the interview, thus he cannot be held responsible or prosecuted for the act of some unknown persons or third parties.

Senthil Balaji has filed a discharge petition in the criminal complaint before the Trial Court, which was dismissed by the Trial Court stating that there are prima facie, sufficient material available for framing of charge against him. Further, Senthil Balaji challenged the order on the ground that he was implicated in the criminal case in political vengeances since he came out of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam ‘AIADMK party’ and joined Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam ‘DMK party’ then become Minister for Electricity, Prohibition and Excise.

The Court relied on State of M.P. v. Mohanlal Soni, (2000) 6 SCC 338, wherein it was viewed that “at the stage of framing charge, the Court has to prima facie consider whether there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused and it is not required to appreciate evidence to conclude whether the materials produced are sufficient or not, for convicting the accused”, and found no infirmity in the impugned order passed by the Trial Court thus, dismissed the revision petition.

[V. Senthil Balaji v. V. Ganesh Kumar, 2022 SCC OnLine Mad 5162, decided on 31-10-2022]


*Apoorva Goel, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

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