Senior Tamil Nadu officer U Sagayam, who was transferred twice in 48 hours, has been asked by a court to investigate illegal granite mining in Tamil Nadu.
Mr Sagayam, 52, was given two postings considered lightweight in quick succession last week, allegedly for standing up to a state minister. He had been the chief of the state-run weavers’ cooperative society Co-optex for two years.
On a petition by activist Traffic Ramasamy, asking for action against illegal miners, the Madras High Court today said Mr Sagayam would be special officer in charge of inspecting mines and reporting to the court.
The court also questioned why the officer, who exposed the granite mining scam during his posting as Madurai collector, had been transferred so frequently and before his two-year term ended.
He has been transferred 24 times in the past 23 years.
Last Wednesday, he was shifted as Commissioner of Indian Medicine and Homeopathy. Two days later, he was shifted again as Vice Chairman of Science City.
Government sources say the officer was targeted for his run-ins with Textile Minister S Gokul Indira.
The minister had allegedly once forced a Co-optex employee to withdraw a police complaint after being assaulted, allegedly by workers of the ruling AIADMK.
In the latest row, Mr Sagayam reportedly refused to give the minister office space in the Co-optex headquarters, saying it would affect the department’s functioning.
The officer reportedly also wrote to the state’s topmost bureaucrat, the Chief Secretary, alleging interference by the minister and asked for an inquiry.
For his frequent transfers, the officer has been compared to IAS officer Ashok Khemka, who alleged that he was victimized in Congress-ruled Haryana for cancelling a land deal involving Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra.