Tamil Nadu’s former top bureaucrat alleged on Tuesday he was “targeted” by income tax officials who conducted an “illegal” raid on his house and office at “gun point” last week that triggered his dismissal.
Speaking to reporters in Chennai, former TN chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao said his life was in danger and called the raid “unconstitutional”.
“CRPF forces knocked on my door at 5:30 with an arrest warrant bearing my son’s name and placed me under house-arrest at gunpoint,” said the former chief secretary.
Stating that the warrant did not have his name, Rao told press that the raids conducted at his residence and his office at the secretariat were a “constitutional assault on the office of the chief secretary”.
“The CRPF has to get permission from the home minister or the chief minister to investigate the offices of a government official,” Rao said. “Did they get this permission? If honourable madam (Jayalalithaa) was still alive, the CRPF would not have the guts to do this.”
Rao claimed he was still chief secretary, despite the state having appointed Girija Vaidyanathan as his replacement on December 22, barely hours after the I-T Dept concluded their raids on the houses of Rao and his families.
“I was named chief secretary by honourable Puratchi Thalaivi Amma (Jayalalithaa),” he declared. “This government hasn’t got the guts to send me a copy of the transfer orders. I am still chief secretary.”
Rao was removed from his position after officials said they recovered Rs 30 lakh cash in new notes and 5kg of gold.
The incident hit national headlines after West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee called the raid an affront to India’s federal structure. Rao thanked Banerjee and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for their support.
Rao’s home and office were raided by the I-T Dept on December 21 as part of their ongoing investigation against his son, Vivek Rao, a software engineer who is suspected of tax avoidance. Opposition leader MK Stalin had called the raids “unprecedented,” and a “disgrace to the state.”