In the silent corridors of power in Tamil Nadu, some decisions are made through whispers. Controversies could often be buried through stealth, keeping the media and people guessing on what really happened. The recent suspension of two top bureaucrats in Tamil Nadu stands testimony to the TN government’s ways.
On Monday, journalists in Tamil Nadu received information that a senior IAS officer, who is also a former Chief Secretary of the state government, had been suspended from service. There was no official confirmation, but several sources in the government confirmed K Gnanadesikan had been asked to not report to work.
He wasn’t alone. It later emerged that the Commissioner of Geology and Mining Atul Anand, three officials belonging to the Geology and Mines department and three executive engineers in the pollution control department too were suspended.
The suspensions were made without the government announcing any kind of enquiry against the officers, that too in spite of one of them having been the Chief Secretary of the state for one and half years. The orders were never made public or released to the media.
Julie Mariappan of TOI has since reported that the TN IAS Officers’ Association has convened its general body meeting on September 1, and it is being speculated that the recent suspensions will be discussed at the meeting.
Meanwhile, speculations over the reasons for suspension are aplenty.
The suspension of mining and pollution department officials points to possible discrepancies in the mineral and sand mining sector. While some reports say that Gnanadesikan was in the line of fire after a central report pointed out discrepancies in mineral mining in the state, other reports say he was in trouble for certain permissions given for sand mining.
The third theory is that Gnanadesikan had to take the fall for the huge debts incurred by TANGEDCO, an agency he had headed for years. Several allegations have been made against him and former power minister Natham Vishwanathan for taking controversial decisions in allotting power contracts and tenders.
“TANGEDCO has debts running into thousands of crores, but that is not recent. Why was Gnanadesikan then appointed CS in spite of these losses? Why is he being suspended now? This makes no sense and the government is not instilling confidence in bureaucrats,” a former top bureaucrat from the state told TNM.
The suspension of senior officers is not the IAS Officers’ Association’s only bone of contention. “Many senior postings have been delayed, there are also frequent transfers. We will take this all up,” a member of the association said.
But will the association have the pluck to pass a resolution against the government or even make adverse remarks? Unlikely, says an IAS officer. “This in Tamil Nadu,” he chuckled adding that there are dim chances of the association taking any such steps.