V. Senthil Balaji, an Indian politician, embarked on his political journey at 21. In 2011, he served as the Minister for Transport in the fourth Jayalalithaa ministry. In May 2021, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) fielded the politician from the Karur Legislative Assembly constituency, and Balaji emerged victorious. Later, he was given the portfolio of Electricity, Prohibition and Excise in the M. K. Stalin ministry.
V. Senthil Balaji was born on Tuesday, 21 October 1975 (age 47 years; as of 2022) in Rameswarappatti, Karur, Tamil Nadu, India. His zodiac sign is Libra. He completed his primary schooling at the Rameswarapatti Government School, Karur, Tamil Nadu. Later, he did his secondary education at the Vivekananda Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Pasupathipalayam, Karur, Tamil Nadu, and the Municipal Higher Secondary School, Karur, Tamil Nadu. He pursued a B.Com degree at the Government Arts College (affiliated to Bharathidasan University), Karur, Tamil Nadu; however, he was reportedly suspended on 16 April 1995.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Weight (approx.): 70 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
His father’s name is P. Velusamy. His mother’s name is not known. There is not much information about his siblings.
Wife & Children
His wife’s name is Megala Senthilbalaji. She is a homemaker. There is not much information about his children.
V. Senthil Balaji follows Hinduism.
He belongs to the Goundar community (OBC).
123/92, Rameswarapatti, Manmangalam Post, Manmangalam Taluk, Karur, 639 006
From 1994 to 1996, V. Senthil Balaji held membership in the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party. Following that, Senthil became associated with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in 1996; he was a member of DMK between 1996 and 2000. In 1996, he held the councillor position in Karur uratchi Onriyam. In 2000, the politician joined the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and a year later, he was elected as a councillor in the Karur uratchi Onriyam. From 2006 to 2016, he served as the representative of the Karur Legislative Assembly constituency in Tamil Nadu.
In 2015, the politician was fired from the Cabinet and was also replaced as the AIADMK Karur district president. Balaji represented the Aravakurichi assembly Constituency in Tamil Nadu from 2016 to 2021. He remained a member of the AIADMK until 2017. It was in 2018, in the presence of DMK chief M. K. Stalin, that Balaji returned to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) after 18 years. One month after he joined DMK, Senthil was given in charge of the party in the Karur district in Tamil Nadu.
Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA)
V. Senthil Balaji was an AIADMK candidate in the 2006 Tamil Nadu legislative assembly election; AIADMK won the election and formed the government. He represented the Karur legislative assembly constituency in Karur district, Tamil Nadu; he won his debut election, defeating the DMK candidate, Vasuki Murugesan, by a margin of 5,384 votes. Balaji emerged victorious in the 2011 Tamil Nadu legislative assembly election against the Indian National Congress’ Jothi Mani. S. by a margin of 44,145 votes and retained the Karur assembly constituency. On 15 May 2011, Senthil was sworn in as the Minister for Transport and was in office till 28 July 2015. In 2016, he was fielded by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam from the Aravakurichi Assembly constituency, and Senthil defeated DMK’s K. C. Palanisamy by a margin of 23,661 votes. The politician who handled the portfolio of Transport in the Fourth Jayalalithaa ministry was left out in the newly formed AIADMK government.
Following the demise of AIADMK leader J. Jayalalithaa in 2017, the politician announced his loyalty to the V. K. Sasikala-T. T. V. Dhinakaran faction. On 18 September 2017 when then-speaker P. Dhanapal decided to disqualify 18 MLAs, including Senthil. This was due to their meeting with the then-Governor Banwarilal Purohit, intending to alter the chief minister’s position. In May 2019, he was fielded by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam from the Aravakurichi Assembly constituency for the 2019 Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly by-election, and Senthil won by a margin of 37,957 votes. In 2021, the politician returned to his home turf, the Karur legislative assembly constituency, on a ticket of DMK for the 2021 Tamil Nadu legislative assembly election and defeated AIADMK’s M. R. Vijayabhaskar by a margin of 12,448 votes. Later, Senthil was appointed the Minister for Electricity, Prohibition and Excise in the M. K. Stalin ministry.
On 16 June 2023, Tamil Nadu Governor R. N. Ravi, under the suggestions made by Chief Minister M. K. Stalin, reassigned the portfolios that were previously held by the arrested state Minister V Senthil Balaji. Following Stalin’s recommendations, the portfolio for Electricity and Non-Conventional Energy Development, previously held by Balaji, was given to Finance Minister Thangam Thennarsu. Similarly, the portfolios for Prohibition and Excise, as well as Molasses, which were previously held by Balaji, were given to S Muthusamy, the Housing and Urban Development Minister. According to certain reports, Thennarsu and Muthusamy are expected to take on these new responsibilities while still managing their existing ones. Balaji, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on 14 June 2023 in connection with a cash-for-jobs scam, received medical treatment and remained a Minister in the Stalin ministry without any portfolios.
Some reports suggested that the Governor did not approve of the minister’s ongoing membership in the Council of Ministers, considering his involvement in criminal proceedings related to moral wrongdoing and his current situation of being in judicial custody. This reshuffling of portfolios occurred one day after the ruling DMK accused Governor Ravi of disregarding Stalin’s recommendation to make these changes.
Cases where Pending
- Three charges related to Punishment for criminal breach of trust (IPC Section-406)
- Three charges related to Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property (IPC Section-420)
- One charge related to an Attempt to murder (IPC Section-307)
- One charge related to Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means (IPC Section-324)
- One charge related to Criminal breach of trust by a public servant or by banker, merchant or agent (IPC Section-409)
- 23 charges related to Punishment for Being a member of an unlawful assembly (IPC Section-143)
- Ten charges related to Malignant acts likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life (IPC Section-270)
- Eight charges related to Negligent acts likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life (IPC Section-269)
- Seven charges related to Punishment for wrongful restraint (IPC Section-341)
- Five charges related to Assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty (IPC Section-353)
- Two charges related to Disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant (IPC Section-188)
- Two charges related to Punishment of abetment, if the act abetted, is committed in consequence, and where no express provision is made for its punishment (IPC Section-109)
- Two charges related to Punishment for Rioting (IPC Section-147)
- Two charges related to Rioting, armed with a deadly weapon (IPC Section-148)
- Two charges related to Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention (IPC Section-34)
- One charge related to Wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot-if rioting to be committed-if not committed (IPC Section-153)
- One charge related to Punishment for criminal trespass (IPC Section-447)
- One charge related to Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt (IPC Section-323)
- One charge related to Punishment for cheating by personation (IPC Section-419)
- One charge related to Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of the offence committed in prosecution of a common object (IPC Section-149)
Money Laundering Case
The Metropolitan Transport Corporation, a Tamil Nadu state-run organization, announced a recruitment campaign in November 2014. This campaign aimed to hire several individuals for various positions, including 746 drivers, 610 conductors, 261 junior tradesmen, 13 junior engineers, and 40 assistant engineers. The recruitment process was carried out through five separate advertisements. At that time, V. Senthil Balaji held the position of transport minister in the AIADMK ministry. Following the release of these recruitment notices, allegations of corruption emerged. One of the complainants, Devasagayam, reportedly stated in October 2015 that he had given Rs 2.60 lakhs to a conductor named Palani to secure employment for his son within the Transport Corporation. Unfortunately, Devasagayam’s son did not obtain the job, and the money he had provided was not returned. It is important to note that Devasagayam’s complaint did not implicate the then Transport Minister Balaji. In March 2016, a complaint was lodged by a person named Gopi; in his complaint, he alleged that he had transferred a total of Rs. 2.40 lakhs to two individuals who were supposedly associated with Minister Balaji to secure a conductor position. Gopi stated that he did not get the job. Some reports suggested that the matter was not effectively handled by the police, which left Gopi feeling frustrated. Consequently, he decided to approach the Madras High Court, requesting official registration of his complaint and a thorough investigation of his complaint.
Initially, Gopi’s case was combined with the earlier one. However, he contested this decision, arguing that the first case did not involve the minister and highlighting that he had been manipulated by the accused. Gopi demanded an investigation that would extend beyond the lower-ranked officers and involve the ministerial level. The Madras High Court acknowledged Gopi’s plea and instructed the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Central Crime Branch, to carry out an extensive investigation beyond the lower ranks. In 2017, the police submitted their final report, which only implicated the 12 individuals mentioned in Devasagayam’s complaint. The minister and his relatives were not included, and they were not charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act; the police report further weakened the severity of their offences. In 2017, an employee of the Transport Department named V. Ganesh Kumar made accusations against the minister and three others. They allegedly instructed him to collect Rs. 95 lakhs from individuals seeking jobs. Regrettably, none of the people who paid the money received the promised jobs or received any refunds. Another case emerged in 2018, but it focused solely on criminal offences and did not involve corruption charges. In that year, K. Arulmani lodged a complaint stating that his friends had been deceived into giving Rs. 40 lakhs under the guise of employment opportunities. Arulmani specifically pointed out that the money had been paid to the minister’s assistant. However, the charges filed did not address the corruption allegations. Despite the growing number of accusations against Balaji, the lack of official corruption charges led to a new petition demanding a more comprehensive investigation.
In 2021, after assuming a ministerial position in Stalin’s cabinet, Balaji found himself entangled in legal matters. Two individuals, namely the minister’s assistant Shanmugam and R Sahayarajan, endeavoured to have the criminal cases against them dismissed by proposing a “compromise” with the victims. The High Court granted their request for one case, but this compromise was perceived as an acknowledgement of bribery and drew the attention of the Enforcement Directorate (ED). In late 2021, the ED initiated an investigation into the situation and sought relevant documents about the various cases. The High Court permitted the ED to examine the documents but prohibited them from making copies of unmarked ones, which subsequently became a subject of contention. Furthermore, the dismissal of the case based on the “compromise” faced challenges from an unsuccessful job applicant and an NGO called the Anti-Corruption Movement. This led to a series of subsequent legal proceedings. The High Court decided to launch a fresh investigation into the case. The summons issued by the ED for the accused individuals was rejected by the High Court, leading to the matter being taken to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court granted the ED permission to carry on with its investigation and examine relevant documents. The Court rejected the minister’s request for a Special Investigation Team. The Court highlighted that the compromise made between the parties was unfair and went against the principles of justice and criminal law. Concerns were raised about the credibility of the investigation because it did not include charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act from 2015 to 2021. The Court dismissed the notion that the charges against Balaji were politically motivated, stating that his position and power shielded him from prosecution while in office. On 13 June 2023, the ED conducted raids on the minister’s residence, his office at the Tamil Nadu Secretariat, and the properties belonging to his brother and a close aide in the Karur district. Subsequently, on 14 June 2023, Balaji was arrested and later remanded in judicial custody until 28 June 2023. He submitted an application to the Supreme Court on 18 July 2023 regarding the cash-for-jobs scam case. He appealed against the Madras High Court’s ruling, which stated that the court order for his detention on money laundering charges related to the cash-for-jobs scam should take precedence over a habeas corpus petition filed by his wife, Megala. On 20 September 2023, a Chennai court rejected Senthil’s bail petition. While hearing the plea, the principal sessions court judge S. Alli mentioned three reasons for rejecting the plea which were flight risk, influencing the witnesses, and tampering with evidence. According to the judge, Senthil’s bank statement showed that he received Rs 1.34 crores between 2013 and 2014 as bribery. The judge added that Senthil’s wife had also received a bribe of Rs. 29.55 lakhs between the financial years 2014-2015 and 2019-2020.
Removed as a minister
After his arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in June 2023 in connection with a purported cash-for-jobs controversy, Senthil Balaji faced significant legal repercussions. The Tamil Nadu Governor, R. N. Ravi, promptly terminated Balaji from the Council of Ministers. However, Chief Minister Stalin later opted to retain Balaji as a minister without portfolio. Stalin, while criticizing the Governor, asserted that he lacked the authority to dismiss a minister, and vowed to pursue legal avenues to address the situation.
- Tempo Truck Reg. No: TN09 U 7770
- Lanson Toyota Fortuner Reg. No: TN47 AM 7777
- Toyota Innova Car Red. No: TN47 AQ 7777
Assets & Properties
- Bank Deposits, Financial Institutions and Non-Banking Financial Companies: Rs. 7,30,810
- Personal loans: Rs. 45,11,582
- Motor Vehicles: Rs. 24,33,804
- Agricultural Land: Rs. 1,10,00,000
Note: The given estimates of movable and immovable assets are according to the year 2021. It excludes the assets owned by his wife and dependents (minor).
In 2021, V. Senthil Balaji’s net worth was estimated to be Rs. 2.07 crores. It excludes the net worth of his wife and dependents (minors).
- He comes from a family that is engaged in agriculture.
- The politician is an ardent fan of Kabadi, Ko Ko, and Volleyball.
- According to certain reports, the politician actively engaged in social service during his student days. It is said that he was a part of the National Service Scheme while in high school. Later, he founded the V.Senthilbalaji Foundationss, which is a non-governmental and non-profit organization. The foundation primarily concentrates on healthcare, aiding the impoverished, offering support to individuals with physical disabilities, and promoting education. This organization is based in Karur, Tamil Nadu.
- V. Senthil Balaji was a staunch supporter of Jayalalithaa. Some reports suggested that it was his close relationship with her that let him continue in the cabinet as the Transport Minister between 2011 and 2015, even when the ministry was shuffled multiple times. But, in 2015, he was removed from the minister’s post and AIADMK Karur district secretary post for unknown reasons. Senthil’s rise in the DMK was equally notable. The politician was tasked with crucial roles within a short period. Shortly after he joined the party in December 2018, he reportedly gained the confidence of Stalin and became his confidant.
- In 2019, having secured victory in the Aravakurichi assembly seat for the second time in three years, V Senthil Balaji was the sole MLA among those who were disqualified yet managed to win again. Notably, he will hold the unique distinction of representing two different parties within a single assembly term. Initially elected on an AIADMK ticket in 2016, Balaji emerged victorious in the by-election on a DMK ticket.
- On 21 May 2021, K. Annamalai, the former Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president, held a meeting with the Tamil Nadu governor. This meeting was prompted by a tragic incident in the state where 23 individuals lost their lives in a hooch-related tragedy. During the meeting, Annamalai demanded the immediate resignation of two ministers from Stalin’s cabinet, including Balaji. The BJP state president accused Senthil of failing to effectively address the issue of the illegal alcohol trade.
- The politician went through a coronary angiogram on 14 June 2023 at the Tamil Nadu Government Multi Super Speciality Hospital, Omandurar Estate. During the procedure, doctors discovered three blockages in his heart. Certain reports suggested that the Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister received advice to undergo bypass surgery shortly.
- Following Balaji’s arrest by the ED, his wife, Megala Senthilbalaji, filed an urgent Habeas Corpus plea at the Madras High Court. She claimed that the arrest had taken place without prior notice or summons. Initially, the division bench of Justice M. Sundar and Justice Sakthivel was scheduled to hear the plea. Surprisingly, Justice R. Sakthivel chose to excuse himself from hearing the Habeas Corpus petition. According to some reports, this decision was made because Justice Sakthivel comes from Karur, which happens to be the hometown of the accused.
- The minister’s arrest sparked strong protests, with various political parties expressing their disapproval of the ED’s methods. They accused the BJP of manipulating central agencies for their political advantage. Tamil Nadu’s chief minister, Stalin, strongly criticized the ED, claiming that Balaji’s hospitalization was a result of mistreatment by officials. He emphasized that the party and its members were not intimidated by the BJP’s tactics and declared their intention to take legal action against the ED. However, it should be noted that earlier, the DMK chief openly accused Senthil of accepting bribes during his time with the AIADMK. Supporters of the BJP and AIADMK are now using this accusation against the chief minister and demanding Balaji’s immediate resignation.