In a major development, beleaguered Tamil Nadu Chief secretary Rammohan Rao, who was under tremendous pressure over alleged corruption charges, was removed on Thursday, according to TV reports. Girija Vaidyanathan has been transferred and posted as the new state chief secretary. It has been learned that Vaidyanathan is a Tamil Nadu cadre officer of 1981 batch of Indian Administrative Service (IAS). Previously, she was the Additional Chief Secretary and Commissioner of Land Administration. In addition to the Chief Secretary of the state, She will also hold the charge of Vigilance Commissioner and Commissioner for Administrative Reforms. This came after the Income-Tax department officials have conducted raid at the office of Rao’s son Vivek Rao even as he admitted to a Rs 5 crore secret income, according to TV reports. It has been learned that a whopping 33 crore in new currency has been seized during the raid. Notably, the raid by income tax officials at Rao’s house in Chennai concluded this morning. According to India Today report, during the search operations which had commenced yesterday, around Rs 30 lakh and 5 kg gold were recovered from Rao’s residence. Significantly, along with the cash and bullion, 40 valuable documents were also seized. As per reports, at least five officials of I-T department had conducted raid at Rao’s residence in Anna Nagar in the state capital.
They also conducted raid at the office of Rao. It has been learned that CRPF and Tamil Nadu police personnel were also present at the spot. Earlier this year, Tamil Nadu Government had appointed Rao as State Chief Secretary. The searches were conducted in connection with its tax evasion probe against the son and few other relatives of Rao, said some reports. The raids that began yesterday morning were on at various places in the state and neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh. “A total of 13 premises are being searched,” a senior official said, adding the premises connected to Rao’s son and other relatives were part of the operation.
The I-T department recently seized a total of 177 kg of gold and cash amounting to Rs.96 crore in withdrawn 500 and 1,000 rupee notes and Rs.34 crore in the new denomination from three businessmen — J. Shekhar Reddy, Srinivasalu and Prem. The big fish is said to be Reddy, a contractor and who has executed works for the Tamil Nadu government.
A political slugfest had erupted over the development with DMK dubbing it as ‘disgrace’ to the state. “IT raids at Chief Secy residence is a disgrace to the state, perhaps for the first time a raid is conducted at a Chief Secretary’s place in Tamil Nadu,” party treasurer MK Stalin said.