Job Scam: SC Restores Criminal Complaint Against TN Minister Senthil Balaji

Job Scam: SC Restores Criminal Complaint Against TN Minister Senthil Balaji

New Delhi: The Supreme Court said on Thursday that corruption by a public servant is an offence against the state and society at large. The top court made the observation while restoring a criminal complaint against V. Senthil Balaji, who is currently the Electricity Minister in the DMK-led Tamil Nadu government.

A bench comprising justices S.A. Nazeer and V. Ramasubramanian said: “It is needless to point out that corruption by a public servant is an offence against the state and the society at large.”“The court cannot deal with cases involving abuse of official position and adoption of corrupt practices, like suits for specific performance, where the refund of the money paid may also satisfy the agreement holder. Therefore, we hold that the high court was completely in error in quashing the criminal complaint,” it said.

The top court set aside a Madras High Court order and allowed an appeal challenging the high court order, which quashed the proceedings against Balaji and others in connection with the allegations of a cash-for-job scam.

Balaji was then the Transport Minister between 2011 and 2015.

Also Read | Bharat Jodo Yatra: Rahul Gandhi Meets Deceased NEET Aspirant Anitha’s Family, Assures To Stand With Them To End NEET

Restored the criminal complaint filed against Balaji, the top court said, “We do not know how the high court could have stayed prosecution of persons under the Prevention of Corruption Act, especially in matters of this nature. As a matter of fact, the state ought to have undertaken a comprehensive investigation into the entire scam, without allowing the accused to fish out one case as if it was a private money dispute.”

Also Read  'Infrastructure & Appointment Of Judges': Outgoing Chief Justice NV Ramana Highlights During His Farewell Speech

The apex court’s judgment came on a plea against the high court order, which quashed the proceedings against Balaji and others on the grounds that the alleged victims of the recruitment scam had arrived at a settlement. It was claimed before the high court that the victims have been repaid the money and they want to quash the case.

The top court said: “We are constrained to say that even a novice in criminal law would not have left the offences under the PC Act out of the final report. The attempt of the investigating officer appears to be of one ‘willing to strike but afraid to wound’ (the opposite of what Alexander Pope wrote in ‘Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot’).”

In 2018, a complaint was filed against Balaji and others for taking bribes from job aspirants on the false promise of appointment to the Metro Transport Corporation (MTC) in various posts.

The top court said: “The impugned order of the high court is wholly unsustainable. Therefore, the appeals are allowed and the impugned order of the high court is set aside. The criminal complaint is restored to file.”