January 7, 2022 10:42:09 am
The Supreme Court on Thursday took strong note of arrest of former AIADMK minister KT Rajenthra Bhalaji during the pendency of his appeal before it against the denial of anticipatory bail by the Madras High Court in an alleged government job scam case.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana was also irked over the raids conducted by state police on the lawyers representing Bhalaji who was swiftly arrested following the rejection of pre-arrest bail plea by the high court.
“What is this? Is it proper for the government to go ahead when this court is considering the matter? With COVID-19, we are unable to list all matters. Heavens were not going to fall if you could have restrained yourself. Why do you attack and raid lawyers… Is it your intention that the Supreme Court should be deprived of hearing the matter,” observed the bench also comprising justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli.
The observations came when senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for the former minister, raised the issue and sought an urgent hearing on the plea. The apex court, which issued notices on separate pleas filed by several people who are accused in the case, listed the matter for hearing on January 10.
“Meanwhile, there shall be stay of arrest of petitioner No. 2 (N Baburai), petitioner No. 3(V S Balaram) and petitioner No. 4 (S K Muthupandian),” it ordered.
Dave, during the brief hearing, said that even after the appeal was filed in the apex court, the petitioner was arrested and his lawyers raided.
“What was the hurry,” the bench asked, adding, “We are not justifying the actions of the petitioner. Definitely, if he is under obligation to prove his innocence he has to, there is no difficulty. But this is not the way you have to take action… Where are we as a society,” the bench said.
A case of cheating has been registered against the former minister and others alleging that some money was collected on the pretext of securing government jobs.
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