Chennai: The Tamil Nadu state government has dropped P. Ramamohan Rao as the chief secretary, with Girija Vaidyanathan replacing him. Rao’s removal comes a day after the income tax department searched 11 locations linked to him, including his official chamber and residence, besides those of his son Vivek. IT officials had claimed to have recovered Rs 30 lakh in new currency and five kg gold in the raids.
According to the Indian Express, Rao has not been suspended, speculation over which continues, but the state government is yet to make an official decision. He remains in service without a posting.
About 100 IT officials, with CRPF contingents providing security and to keep the operation secret, searched Rao’s premises on Wednesday, the Indian Express reported. Following the raids, IT officials claimed Vivek had admitted to having undisclosed income of Rs 5 crore and allegedly had business dealings with sand mining baron Shekar Reddy, according to NDTV.
The searches on Rao followed the recent seizure of Rs 135 crore cash and 177 kg of gold from Reddy and his associate Srinivasulu.“Documents seized from Reddy’s premises were the major evidence, as they had details linked to Rao. It was a matter of ascertaining locations before launching the raid,” an IT official told the Indian Express.
Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu had been calling for Rao’s removal following the raids. Rao’s appointment in June this year as the state government’s top-most official was controversial as he superseded many senior IAS officers.
(With PTI inputs)