Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami reshuffled the bureaucracy, bringing back senior IAS officer Niranjan Mardi as the state’s home secretary on Friday.
Mardi, who replaces Apurva Varma, was appointed as home secretary on May 21, 2013, before being transferred in December of that year under Jayalalithaa’s orders.
The 1986-batch IAS officer is well known to the current chief minister as he was his secretary in the highways department for a number of years, the ministerial berth that Palaniswami had before becoming chief minister.
Mardi, who is currently vice chairman and chief executive officer of the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board and project director (in charge) of the Tamil Nadu Road Sector Project, will be looking after the home sector, as well as prohibition and excise sector, following his appointment.
Varma has been appointed principal secretary to the tourism, culture, and religious endowments department.
P Umanath, commissioner of rehabilitation and welfare of non-resident Tamils has been transferred to the post of managing director of Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation.
Mardi’s appointment comes a fortnight after Palaniswami was sworn in as the new chief minister of Tamil Nadu following a bitter fight between two factions within the ruling AIADMK, headed by general secretary VK Sasikala and Palaniswami’s predecessor O Panneerselvam.
The new home secretary’s appointment is expected to be the first in many rejigs for the new cabinet, given that many of the officers in question have served for more than five years.
Prior to Mardi’s appointment, the last major reshuffle was carried out in December 2016 when P Ram Mohana Rao was replaced as state chief secretary by Girija Vaidyanathan following raids on his offices and his family properties by officials on the income tax department.