Am still Chief Secretary, government hasn’t served transfer orders: Rao (Roundup)

Chennai, Dec 27 (IANS) Former Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P. Rama Mohana Rao, who was removed after he came under the Income Tax Department’s scanner and had his office and house raided, on Monday asserted that he continued to hold the post, claiming the state government did not serve him any transfer orders.

While the government did not react to the top bureaucrat’s claims, opposition parties condemned his remarks and asked the O. Panneerselvam government to respond.

“This government has no guts to serve the copy of the transfer order,” Rao thundered at his Anna Nagar residence here.

Expressing his anger at the Panneerselvam government, Rao said had the late J. Jayalalithaa been alive, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) would never have entered the state secretariat.

Reacting to Rao’s outburst, PMK founder S. Ramadoss said: “He has challenged the central and the state governments and it is condemnable.”

He also said that the former Chief Secretary is trying to give a political colour to the IT raid issue by bringing in the name of Jayalalithaa.

“This is an attempt to deflect the IT probe which cannot be allowed. He can also tamper with the witness. Hence he should be arrested,” Ramadoss added.

The PMK leader also said it is the duty of the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to clarify on the questions raised by Rao.

A similar demand was also made by DMK leader M.K.Stalin.

Speaking to the media here, Rao also denied that the state government served him any transfer orders.

Rao is under Income Tax scanner and his residence and office were searched by Income Tax officials on December 21, and the search only concluded the next day.

The state government appointed Girija Vaidyanathan as the new Chief Secretary in Rao’s place.

According to Rao, the central government could have asked the state government to transfer him before the IT officials began their search operations.

He said he had always followed Jayalalithaa’s orders and it was she who trained him since 1994.

“At gun point they entered my house. I was under house arrest,” Rao said, referring to the gun-totting CRPF personnel who were deployed at his residence to escort the IT officials.

Charging the Income Tax officials of entering his residence and his office in the state secretariat without any authorisation, Rao said: “The search warrant was in the name of my son, Vivek Papisetty.”

Rao questioned as to how IT officials could search the office of the Chief Secretary without due authorisation.

“Did they get the permission of Chief Minister, Home Secretary for searching the Chief Secretary’s office?” he asked.

Tax officials also raided the premises of Rao’s son Papisetty and those connected with the duo.

Rao thanked Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for charging the Centre of raiding the constitutional authorities in the states.

Ramdoss also found fault with the IT department for not being transparent.

He said had the IT department issued a statement on the seizures made at Rao’s house, the complaints against him and his family members the issue would not have raised now.

“At least now the IT department should answer the charges levelled by Rao,” Ramadoss said.

Rao said IT officials found only Rs 1,12,320 in cash and around 40-50 sovereigns of gold jewels on his wife and daughter.

The IT officials got around 20-25 kg of silver articles that included idols of gods and other religious articles.

Rao denied any links with businessman Shekar Reddy who is also under the IT department’s scanner.

He claimed that his life is in danger but didn’t say from whom.

Soon after the IT raid at his residence Rao got himself admitted to a private hospital here for chest pain. He was discharged couple of days later.