Chennai, December 21 (NIA): In a politically significant move, Central Indian Income Tax officials on Wednesday raided the residence and office of Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P. Rama Mohana Rao with the help of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Rao was a confidante of the Late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa , who herself had Income Tax cases against her. He has also been close to Sasikala Natarajan, Jayalalithaa’s putative successor as the General Secretary of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). Sasikala is tipped to be Chief Minister of the state given her clout over the state administration during Jayalalithaa’s rule.
According to The Hindu Rao’s name cropped up after officials questioned Shekar Reddy, a businessman and former member of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Board. Millions of rupees and gold bars were recovered from Reddy’s premises recently. He was addressed and produced in court.
The IT Dept said it had seized INR 1.8 million in new currency notes and 2 kg of gold bars in searches at the premises of the son and other relations of the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary.
The Tamil Nadu government was not aware of the deployment of the Central paramilitary forces at Rao’s residence..
IT officials were also seen at the Tamil Nadu Secretariat on Wednesday. A team arrived in three cars along with paramilitary security.
Who is Rama Mohana Rao?
- Rama Mohana Rao first shot into prominence when he was appointed Private Secretary to then Chief Minister Jayalalithaa when she assumed office in 2011. He served as her Secretary till mid-2016.
He had superseded seniors and replaced K. Gnanadesikan (since suspended).
Rao hails from Andhra Pradesh and belongs to the 1985 batch of the Indian Administrative Service, Tamil Nadu cadre. He began his career serving as Assistant Collector in 1987.
He has held positions in various other departments including Agricultural Production, Housing and Urban Development, Industries, Backward Classes Welfare and Khadi and Village Industries Board.
Currently he holds full additional charge as Vigilance Commissioner and Commissioner for Administrative Reforms.
Along with adviser to Government Sheela Balakrishnan, Rao was reportedly calling the shots in the Tamil Nadu administration during the period when Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was hospitalized.
There are income tax cases against the Late J.Jayalalithaa and her confidante Sasikala Natarajan, the present General Secretary of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). The central Indian government could pursue these cases – a step which will adversely affect the political prospects of the AIADMK and Sasikala Natarajan.