The Madras High Court on Monday questioned why V Senthil Balaji continued to be a minister in the DMK government despite having spent over 200 days in jail following his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a case of money laundering..Justice N Anand Venkatesh observed,“I do not want to get into the politics behind all this, but I am just speaking what is on my mind. The fact that somebody who has spent 230 days behind bars continues to be a minister without a portfolio. This, despite a division bench of this Court specifically saying in its order that it does not augur well. I find it disturbing.".Justice Venkatesh then said that while the Court will hear Balaji’s plea on merits, the State must reflect on what message was it sending to the public by letting him continue as a minister without any portfolio.“It doesn’t augur well. Because, even if a person in the lowest rung of the government is behind bars for just 48 hours, he is immediately removed or suspended from his post. But a minister here continues being in office after having been in jail for more than 200 days. Think of it this way: if tomorrow, a judge were to face charges in a criminal case and the Chief Justice decided not to allot any judicial work to him, but the judge continued to hold on to his office, what will happen?” he said.Senior Counsel C Aryama Sundaram responded by saying that it has actually happened in the past when a former judge continued to hold office even though the then CJI had recommended his impeachment and he had not been assigned any judicial work for years.“Can I say something here? A judge in the Supreme Court was once not allocated any portfolio for similar reasons but he continued being a judge, and sitting in the court. It was told to everyone that if someone had any problem, they needn't appear before that judge. I will also add, however, that his (Senthil Balaji’s) ministerial position should not come in the way of his seeking bail as a human being,” he said..The judge made the comments while hearing a bail application filed by Senthil Balaji in the money laundering case..Appearing for the arrested minister, Senior Advocate C Aryama Sundaram told the Court that while politics may surround his client's arrest and his continuance as a State minister, he had come to Court seeking bail like any ordinary human being..Sundaram also said that the ED had already completed its investigation in the case and had all documents and evidence it needed. Therefore, Balaji’s custody was not required further.The senior counsel further said that if ED continued holding on to the argument that Balaji was in a position to influence its probe, then “no one holding a high post will ever be able to get bail.”.The Court directed the ED, represented by Special Public Prosecutor N Ramesh, to file its reply by February 14, the next date of hearing in the case..Senthil Balaji was arrested on June 14 after undergoing questioning by the ED in a money laundering case. The charges are from the time of his tenure as transport minister for the AIADMK government from 2011 to 2015.His bail application has been rejected by a sessions court in Chennai on three previous occasions. His medical bail plea was rejected by the High Court in October last year.