CHENNAI: Breaking his silence a week after the I-T raids in his residence and office at the Secretariat, former chief secretary P Rama Mohana Rao unleashed a scathing attack on the I-T department, CRPF and even the State government, charging that the raids were a constitutional assault on the office of the chief secretary which would not have happened had late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa been alive.
Claiming to be Jaya's chosen one, a combative Rao took on the present State government head on, stating that he continued to be the chief secretary - he was replaced by Girija Vaidyanathan - as he was yet to receive the order.
“This government has no guts to serve me the copy of the transfer order. I claim I am the chief secretary of Tamil Nadu appointed by 'Puratchi Thalaivi Amma' [Jaya] - appointed by, sponsored by and nurtured by honourable Amma. The present chief secretary may be made the chief secretary in-charge,” Rao said in a hurriedly-convened interaction with the press at his Anna Nagar residence in Chennai.
The raids, he added, waving two copies of *panchanamas* given by the I-T department on what had been seized from his house, had yielded only Rs 1,12,320 cash. "And gold on the person of my wife and daughter - 40 to 50 sovereigns - and silver articles including Lord Mahalakshmi, Lord Vinayaka and Lord Venkateswara," he claimed.
Alleging several illegalities, Rao said the I-T personnel served a notice that didn't have his name.
"CRPF entered my room. My wife, daughter and grandchild were inside. At 5.30 am, they knocked my doors. They showed me a search warrant where my name was absent (It was his son's name on the warrant, he said.) My son never lived in this house even for a week," he alleged.
"They were talking about a secret chamber in my house. You can go and see that now. It was my store room. Used articles, various dresses, old matresses etc only are kept there."
Rao raised a flurry of questions during his press interaction:
"While the search warrant is in my son’s name, why did they go to the chief secretary’s office? I do not know if they have got permission of the chief minister or home secretary, the custodians of Police, or Public Department, the custodian of government officers, to raid my office.
“What did they find in my office? The secrets of various chief ministers. Their decisions. Their orders, confidential reports and criminal cases filed against ministers and IAS and IPS officers. Besides, they could find my MRC Club membership. They also found some loose sheets. Many people give various representations that are never acted upon.
"Where is the State government? What role the GOI or its departments have to do here? Had madam been alive now, would anybody have the guts to enter the Secretariat? It is the State government elected by the people of Tamil nadu. What business does the CRPF have in the chief secretary's chamber? Whose permission was got for this raid? Did they get the permission of Chief Minister? And they found nothing in the raids.
“I am not a coward. I was trained by Madam Jayalalithaa. Not for one day; she has been training me since I was Collector of Chengelpattu MGR district in 1994.
"If this is the condition and status of the chief secretary with 32 years of service, then what happens to the AIADMK workers? What happens to the State government servants? I am telling my IAS friends and entire bureacracy in the country how can CRPF can enter anybody’s house or office. If they wanted to search my house, they should have transferred me out and then searched my office.How much time it will take for the chief minister to transfer the chief secretary ? Just two minutes. Somebody from [Centre] could speak to the CM and say that he is a terrorist, an extremist and smuggler and that we don’t want this chief secretary and transfer me, and then come to my house.
"You know how I did during the past six months as chief secretary. You know how I protected madam during the 75 days in hospital. How did I manage cyclone Vardah? How did I manage Madam’s funeral?
“Why did they enter my house? What did they want from my house and office? These all are questions I want to ask.
"If madam, now in Marina, were alive, would this have happened to Tamil Nadu?
"Anybody can enter anybody’s house? CPRF can come, military can come. They could have transferred me in half an hour. But they have no respect to the State government. My daughter in law was in advanced stage of pregnancy in Ramachandra hospital. My son was there. They pulled him out and deployed some persons around the room at gun point."
Talking to mediapersons at his Anna Nagar residence, an emotional Rao also thanked West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and AIADMK spokespersons SR Balasubramoniyan and Professor Dheeran for extending support.
“I am being targetted. My life is in danger. I have no business links with Shekhar Reddy. I have thousands of friends in Tamil Nadu. He may be known to me. That does not mean….many people are known to me. I have been in Tamil Nadu for 31 years. I have held many many positions in both governments.
“Did you find anything in this seven months while I was following Madam’s footsteps? I have followed whatever she said. Now, in her absence, there is no security.
"My son has nothing to do with the government. He is an HR person. Please show me one paper… I am going to the people. People of this State know what is happening in the absence of Amma... I will continue to serve the people.
Former TN CS to media: I am still the Chief Secy of Tamil Nadu since my transfer orders are yet to be served on me @NewIndianXpress— T Muruganandham (@muruga_TNIE) December 27, 2016
Rao also said that the warrant was not even under his name and that the I-T officials only found Rs 1,12,320 and some silver articles.
Former TN CS to media: IT dept found only Rs.1,12,320 and some silver articles ; no incriminating documents were found @NewIndianXpress— T Muruganandham (@muruga_TNIE) December 27, 2016
former TN CS to media: The search warrant of IT department was not in my name @NewIndianXpress— T Muruganandham (@muruga_TNIE) December 27, 2016