Monday, 6 February 2012

Chief Secretary Sarangi to be shown the door ?

If whispers in Secretariat are to be believed, Tamil Nadu’s Chief Secretary and erstwhile blue-eyed boy Debendranath Sarangi, is likely to be shown the door.
Debendranath Sarangi, the top bureaucrat in Tamil Nadu used to be very close to the DMK regime in the past.    In fact, K.N.Nehru, who was one of the biggest looters in the DMK regime, handpicked Sarangi for the post of Transport Secretary.  Nehru’s loot in the Transport Department has no par. Sarangi, during his tenure as Transport Secretary, gave his tacit cooperation to K.N.Nehru in his loot, say sources.   Sarangi’s clout in the DMK regime is attributed to his mentor and former Chief Secretary K.S.Sripathi.   Sripathi, with whom Sarangi is reported to be very close maintains his contacts with him, even now, say sources.

In 2009, Sarangi was shifted as Environment Secretary where he stayed for about a year. Following his stint as Environment Secretary, Sarangi was posted to the Tamil Nadu Industrial Corporation in September 2010, where he continued till he was made the Chief Secretary by Jayalalitha in May 2011.  During his tenure as Chairman, TIDCO, Sarangi is reported to have purchased a Home Theater system worth Rs.5 lakhs, from TIDEL park funds.  TIDEL park comes under the control Of TIDCO.

Former Chief Secretary Sripathi, who became the Chief Information Commissioner of Tamil Nadu courted trouble when a complaint was filed against him for securing a flat meant for bureaucrats, after his retirement.   According to media reports the complaint has been sent to the Governor and a report has been sought from the Chief Secretary. Owing to the close camaraderie between Sarangi and Sripathi, the former has promised a helping hand in closing the issue for Sripathi, say sources.    

Jayalalitha made Debendranath as her Chief Secretary immediately after assuming charge, shunting off the former CS S.Malathi to an insignificant post.  The buzzword in IAS circles is that Jayalalitha was not aware of the dubious background of Sarangi and had she been aware, Sarangi might be adorning any one of the post of Commissioner for Disciplinary Proceedings.  Sarangi is reported to be very close to KD brothers and it was Sarangi, who as Revenue Secretary extended the lease for Golf Club to ‘India Cements’ Srinivasan on the instigation of KD brothers.   Sarangi is also reported to be very close to the granite lobby – Pallava Granites, Gem Granites, PRP granites, etc.

After becoming the Chief Secretary, Sarangi was the reason for the creation of what is called the ‘Odisha lobby’.   Sarangi was instrumental in ensuring that officers from Odisha are placed in key positions.    The posting of J.K.Tripathy as Chennai City Commissioner and K.C.Mahali as Coimbatore City Commissioner is attributed to Sarangi.   Even after allegation of high handedness by Rajesh Das both in Paramakudi and during the Mullai Periyar agitations, it was Sarangi who protected Rajesh Das as a godfather.

In the subsequent reshuffles too, Sarangi had a role to play and he played it with perfection, add sources.  When Jayalalitha was upset about her new Home Secretary Sheela Rani Chunkath and wanted a replacement, it was Sarangi who suggested the name of Rameshram Mishra, who also belong to the Odisha clan.    When the MM cartel were expelled and Jayalalitha wanted a change in the intelligence wing, the initial suggestion made by DGP Ramanujam was to bring in Tamil Nadu cadre IPS officer T.V.Ravichandran.  Ravichandran is now serving in the Intelligence Bureau from 2003.    Sources say, even Ravichandran’s consent was obtained by Ramanujam.   But, all of a sudden Sarangi brought another member of Odisha lobby, Amresh Pujari as Inspector General of Intelligence, say sources.

After becoming Chief Secretary Sarangi is reported to be involved in a spat in the Madras Cricket Club. Sarangi who use to have drinks with mentor Sripathi, went to the Club on 2nd October forgetting that it is a dry day.  In spite of the bearer informing that it is a dry day, Sarangi flaunted his present position and was supplied with drinks much to the ire of the other members.  The other members who were denied drinks, were cursing ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ for the ‘dry day’.   

Now, luck appear to be running out of Sarangi, as Amma’s ire is turned towards Sarangi say fort st George sources.

With the assets case dangling like a Damocles sword over her head, Jayalalitha was very desperate for some sort of relief.  The MM cartel is also adding fuel to Jaya’s anxiousness.    Jayalalitha who was hoping against hopes for a relief from the Supreme Court was disappointed when the Apex court refused to intervene.

In fact the set back for Jaya is attributed to Sarangi’s decision to send a communiqué to the Investigating Officer in Jaya’s assets case – G.Sambandham.
In his petition submitted before the Bengaluru Special Court, which is hearing Jayalalitha’s assets case, Sambandham wrote “It is submitted that the review meeting of the Chief Secretary and Commissioner for Administrative Reforms taken place on 3.6.2011 at Chennai relating to the cases pending at the Special Investigation Cell, Vigilance and Anti-Corruption and the Chief Secretary has pointed out certain lapses occurred in the Special Case No.208/2004  during investigation and directed to rectify the lapses, discrepancies, and infirmities pointed out by his D.O. Letter No.2998/VC III/2011 dated 8.6.2011.
Pursuant to such directions the Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption has also instructed to comply with the orders of the Government.”  Citing this, Sambandham in his petition went on to add that based on a Supreme Court judgment, he is proceeding with further investigation in Jaya’s assets case, without the orders of the Court.

DMK’s General Secretary K.Anbalagan, approached the Karnataka High Court and sought the quashing of the plea of the Investigating Officer for further investigation.   Justice V.Jagannathan of the Karnataka High Court observed in his order …
“What is clear from the contents of the aforesaid communication is  the following:
(i)             Further investigation is not sought by the Investigating Officer on his own volition.

(ii)      The I.O. did not notice any lapses in the investigation but it is the Chief Secretary who has pointed out certain lapses according to the letter.

(iii)    The Chief Secretary has directed the I.O. to rectify the lapses, discrepancies and the infirmities pointed by the Chief Secretary in his letter dated 8.6.11.

(iv)   The DVAC has been directed to comply with the objects of taking further investigation is said to be to rectify the lapses.

(v)          It is pursuant to the aforesaid directions that the DSP has thought it fit to take up further investigation. 

Thus it is clear that the need for further investigation arose not on account of the I.O. being satisfied to take up further investigation, but on the other hand, the promptness of the directions as well came from the Chief Secretary to the I.O.  In other words the I.O. did not find any lapses or discrepancies in the investigation, but it is the Chief Secretary who has pointed out the lapses to the I.O.”

This is the main ground adopted by the Karnataka High Court Judge to dismiss the DVAC’s plea for further investigation.   An order for further investigation would have enabled Jayalalitha to put the assets case against her permanently in cold storage or even manage to wriggle out of it.

Sources tell whispers that the lapse committed by Debendranath Sarangi in sending a D.O. letter to DVAC’s I.O. for further investigation, for which he is not competent to do so, has become the last nail in the coffin for Jayalalitha.

Jayalalitha’s fond hope of getting some sort of relief from the Apex Court was shattered when the Supreme Court not only disallowed DVAC’s plea for further investigation, but also gave a direction to the Trial court to “ direct the Trial Court to conclude the trial of the cases    as   expeditiously  as possible.”

With the odds stacking up against the top bureaucrat Debendranath Sarangi IAS, his days as Chief Secretary appears to be numbered.


  1. Does Sarangi have proportionate assets ?

  2. IAS must be named as Indian administrative scamsters!!!

  3. Let God Help Tamil Nadu and India
    Under waht conditions administration is being run eben in so called one of best states
    Think of North Indian states!
    Goes w/o saying why North states-not all-but majority- are in such desparate state in all fronts
    what level Politico-Beauracratic-Law enforcers Gangs have reduced india to!!