In the 1730s, the Carnatic region of southern India was under the dominion of Asaf Jah 1, the Nizam of Hyderabad. The Nizam had appointed Muhammed Saadatullah Khan as Nawab of the Carnatic in 1710. Saadatullah died in 1732, directing that he be succeeded by his nephew, Dost Ali Khan. Dost Ali refused to pay chauth (a form of tribute) to the Marathas that his predecessors had paid. Following the death of the Maratha rajah of Trichinopoly in 1736, Dost Ali sent his son-in-law and diwan, Chanda Sahib, to the province, claiming its tribute payments were in arrears. He inveigled himself into the court of rani
Minakshi, who was acting as regent for her young son. Abusing her trust, he seized the fortress and threw her into prison, where she is said to have died of grief. Dost Ali rewarded Chanda Sahib with the title Nawab of Trichinopoly.
The Maratha peshwa, offended by the loss of Trichinopoly, sent Raghuji Bhonsle to organize a military expedition into the Carnatic in 1739. In early 1740 Raghuji led an estimated 50,000 man army south toward Arcot, Dost Ali's capital, and Dost Ali and Chanda Sahib mobilized to meet him. (The nizam's military forces were occupied on his northern borders, and he was unable to provide significant assistance.) These two forces first met at the Demal Cheru Pass on 20 May 1740. The Marathas were victorious, killing Dost Ali and forcing Chanda Sahib to flee to Trichinopoly. Dost Ali's successor, Safdar Ali Khan, negotiated tribute payments to the Marathas to ensure their recognition of his rule. Raghuji's forces then closely besieged Chanda Sahib in Trichinopoly in early 1741, eventually compelling his surrender by starvation. The Marathas installed Murari Rao to govern Trichinopoly.