Amid surging COVID-19 cases, the Tamil Nadu government on Friday shunted out Health Secretary Beela Rajesh and brought back her predecessor J Radhakrishnan, who had a long stint helming the department and hands on experience in tackling crisis situations.
A 1997 batch IAS officer, Rajesh, who had become the face of the health department through her daily media briefings on COVID-19, has been transferred to the commercial taxes and registration department, a Government Order said.
Radhakrishnan, presently principal secretary and commissioner of revenue administration, has been posted as principal secretary to health and family welfare department, the order said.
Rajesh had been leading the health department in the COVID-19 battle since January when the state started screening arriving international passengers and lauded for her poise while handling a volley of questions from the media.
Incidentally, Radhakrishnan, a 1992 batch IAS officer, was on May 1 appointed as Special Nodal Officer for Greater Chennai Corporation to coordinate coronavirus related issues with the civic body chief.
He was the health secretary from September 2012 till February 2019 when Rajesh had succeeded him.
He was the district collector of Nagapattinam when the coastal region was ravaged by the tsunami in 2004 and he was credited with for the swift relief and rehabilitation works.
In his capacity as head of the health department, Radhakrishnan was among top state officials who had a tab on the treatment of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in 2016 at the Apollo Hospitals till her demise in December that year.
"He (Radhakrishnan) will continue to hold the post of Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Revenue Administration in full additional charge until further orders," the GO said.