State minister without portfolio Senthil Balaji, detained by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a job fraud case, had open heart surgery at a private hospital on Wednesday. Hospital sources said Balaji was moved from the ICU to the operating theatre about 4.30am and the procedure began at 5am.
A team lead by Dr AR Raghuram installed “four bypass grafts and coronary revascularization” according to the hospital. Doctors are watching Balaji.
ED arrested Balaji last week. A court ruling moved him from a government hospital to a private one after he complained of chest trouble.
Balaji was recommended to have CABG surgery at the “earliest” after a coronary angiography indicated “triple vessel disease”.
July 4 is the next Supreme Court hearing.
On Tuesday, Balaji’s colleague Subramanian said the leader was unaware of the “critical blocks” before the government hospital physicians detected them last week. He claimed that his personal doctor and ESI Hospital medical specialists, referred to by the ED, recommended the procedure.
The health minister stated Balaji’s medications had to be halted before surgery could be done “5-6 days” later.
Two days ago, principal district court judge S Alli ordered the ED not to remove Balaji from Kauvery Hospital, where he was transferred from the government hospital, but to interrogate him there, taking into account his ailments and treatment.
Alli advised the ED to consult Balaji’s physicians before questioning him. The court further ordered the deputy director of ED to feed and house Senthil Balaji and refrain from torturing him.
The accused will not be threatened. “Subject to medical advice, the accused’s family may visit him during custody,” the judge added.
The court ordered the ED to secure and videoconference the accused at 3pm on June 23. Balaji may be able to attend through video conference following surgery.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court stated it will decide on Habeas Corpus petition maintainability and treatment period exclusion from prison term. It urged the HC proceed on merits.