IT raids TN Chief Secretary, leaders want him sacked

Chennai, Dec 21 (IANS) Income Tax officials on Wednesday raided the house and office of Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P. Rama Mohana Rao, triggering calls for his dismissal from service.

A senior official in the Income Tax Department said cash in new currency was seized from the raided premises, including the Secretariat.

Searches were also conducted in several other places connected to Rao, his son and others.

Ironically, Rao holds the additional charge of Vigilance Commissioner and the Commissioner for Administrative Reforms.

Rao was appointed to the post overlooking the seniority of several IAS officials.

Informed sources said the searches of Rao’s residence and office were linked to the earlier IT raids on the residence of businessmen J. Shekhar Reddy, Srinivasalu and Prem.

The IT department recently seized 177 kg of gold and cash totalling Rs 96 crore in old 500 and 1,000 rupee notes and Rs 34 crore in new currency from the three.

A contractor, Reddy had reportedly executed a lot of work for the Tamil Nadu government. The CBI arrested all three on Wednesday.

Leaders of the DMK and PMK demanded the immediate dismissal of Rao.

Former IAS officer and social activist M.G. Devasahayam told IANS that the government had the power to summarily dismiss an IAS officer under Article 311 of the Indian Constitution.

Speaking to reporters here, DMK leader M.K. Stalin said the Chief Secretary should immediately resign.

He said it was important for Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam to appoint a new Chief Secretary. He also demanded a detailed statement from the Chief Minister.

Terming the raid as a disgrace, PMK founder S. Ramadoss demanded Rao’s dismissal and legal action against him.

Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan refuted the charge that the central government was using the raid as a political tool and said the raids were conducted based on information gathered by the IT department.

Former IAS officer Devasahayam told IANS: “The raids have opened a Pandora’s box. Corruption cannot happen in the government without the connivance of corrupt bureaucrats.”

He also found fault with the central government.

“Rao superceded several senior IAS officers when he was appointed the Chief Secretary. Even today there are 18 IAS officers senior to him working in the state or in the central government,” Devasahayam said.

The IAS cadre comes under the central government, which was silent when Rao became the Chief Secretary.

“The raid on Rao’s residence is a great, great shame for the IAS cadre,” Devasahayam said.