Income Tax officials raided the Chennai home of Tamil Nadu’s topmost bureaucrat, Chief Secretary P Rama Mohana Rao, on Wednesday. Simultaneous raids began at about 5:30 in the morning at the bureaucrat’s official residence in the city’s upscale Anna Nagar locality and seven other locations, including homes of his relatives.
A large number of personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF have been posted outside Rao’s home as the Income Tax officials conduct their searches. Rao’s office in the Secretariat was also raided.
Income Tax officials said the searches are linked to a tax evasion investigation against Rao’s son Vikram Rao. Earlier this month, taxmen had found over 100 kg of gold, Rs 96 crore in banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes and Rs 34 crore in new currency notes in raids at the homes of three Tamil Nadu businessmen, one of whom, J Shekhar Reddy, allegedly has business links with the Chief Secretary’s son.
Sources said documents found at Reddy’s house may have led to the raids on Wednesday, which took place even as Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was in Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and seek central aid for the state to help repair the damage caused by the cyclone that hit Tamil Nadu last week.
Rama Mohana Rao, a 1985 batch officer, took over as Chief Secretary in June this year. He was earlier posted in the Chief Minister’s office and is seen as an officer with much political influence.
Rao is said to have played an important role in J Jayalalithaa’s companion Sasikala Natarajan coming to the forefront of politics in the state after the former Chief Minister died in hospital earlier this month.
Natarajan has been asked by the ruling AIADMK to take over as party chief.