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DIPR officials in a dilemma as Balaji returns as minister

When the State was witnessing a high-voltage campaign in the last leg of the Assembly polls in the last week of March, a team of Department of Information and Public Relations (DIPR) officials were assisting the police and legal departments with tender documents and newspaper clippings on the alleged job scam and corruption by DMK’s Karur MLA V Senthil Balaji.

DIPR officials in a dilemma as Balaji returns as minister
TN Minister Senthil Balaji (File Photo)


Now, as Senthil Balaji is back at the secretariat as a powerful Electricity Minister, the once-busy officials are on leave. Some of them are even frequenting the residences of DMK bigwigs waving the white flag, an eyewitness told DT Next. 

“In the charge sheet against him, 46 government officials and public relation officers were named for their proximity with him. Now the odds have changed and the top Information Department officials are blaming the then minister Kadambur Raju, who was not aware of these political developments,” said a government official, blaming the top DIPR officials for the current state of panic in the department. 

“The DIPR team, which had direct access to the then chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, also made sure that the Central Crime Branch and the AIADMK’s legal wing had enough information to register the complaint and campaign against Balaji, even though the alleged scam occurred when J Jayalalithaa was the chief minister. But now they have turned their allegiance to DMK,” said an AIADMK MLA. 

This change is evident as Chief Minister MK Stalin and his son and youth wing leader Udayanidhi Stalin are now the WhatsApp profile photos of the DIPR officials who are calling the shots, the MLA added. 

“DIPR is a politically connected department, as most of the officers are appointed based on political recommendations. Though the other departments remain non-political, the police and DIPR don’t maintain any such restrictions,” said a senior IAS officer. 

While most departments are headed by direct recruit officers, the top positions in the Information Department are usually reserved for promotee IAS who are well connected, the official added.

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