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‘Pawn’ in Jaya-Centre feud

Chennai, May 8: A Tamil Nadu woman IPS officer was suspended within hours of taking charge today as the CBI’s additional director in Delhi, with the Jayalalithaa government accusing her of “abandoning her post abruptly”.

The action against Archana Ramasundaram is being seen as a fallout of a running feud between the Jayalalithaa administration and the Centre over a host of issues.

Archana was appointed the CBI’s additional director — the first woman to be elevated to this level in the agency — in February against the backdrop of the state’s tensions with the Centre.

The officer, in her 50s, had sought to be relieved from her state assignment but the Jayalalithaa government sat on her request for over three months.

Finally, Archana chose not to wait and went to Delhi, leaving after signing papers handing over charge to her second-in-command and sending them through a messenger.

Archana holds the rank of director-general and has been chairperson of Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services’ Recruitment Board since 2012.

According to a senior officer, an under-secretary from the department of personnel in Delhi called Archana early this week asking her to join before a PIL challenging her appointment comes up in the Supreme Court tomorrow.

Activist Vineet Narain, the petitioner, has alleged that the Centre had overlooked the selection committee’s recommendation for R.K. Pachnanda, a former Calcutta police chief.

Also, Archana’s appointment had not been cleared by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC), Narain said, and cited a Supreme Court ruling making this mandatory for top posts.

Archana was appointed to the CBI on February 6, after director Ranjit Sinha recommended her strongly and a panel headed by the Prime Minister cleared it.

“The Jayalalithaa government was in no hurry to oblige the Centre as a riposte to Delhi ignoring its various pleas. In the process, a good officer’s time has been wasted,” an official said.

Archana’s husband Ramasundaram, a senior state IAS officer, had taken voluntary retirement in 2011, just before Jayalalithaa returned to power.

As PWD secretary in the DMK government, he had overseen the construction of the new Assembly-cum-secretariat complex, a pet project of former chief minister M. Karunanidhi. Jayalalithaa converted the building into a super-speciality hospital.