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Feb 5, 2009

TN Govt Issued 'charge memo' To Ex-MD Of Arasu Cable

The Tamil Nadu government has given a 'charge memo' to C Umashankar, senior IAS officer, who was recently shunted out of Arasu Cable TV Corporation, the TN state cable TV service. "We have issued a charge memo against the officer. He will have to respond within 15 days," a senior government official confirmed.The memo issued on January 19 charges the IAS officer with having canvassed a job for his wife in the US based company, Tessolve, with which "he had dealings" during his stint as the head of the Electronic Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT).

It is a violation of Indian Administrative Service rules, says the memo.Curiously, the charge memo comes days after the bureaucrat publicly took on the Kalanithi Maran-owned Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV), for alleged widespread slashing of the optic fibre cables of the Arasu Cable TV optic fibre in several parts of Tamil Nadu, especially Vellore and Coimbatore.


The cable cutting had resulted in revenue and subscriber loss to the Government cable TV services, to the tune of over Rs 15 crore, Umashankar had said.In mid-December 2008, he shot off a series of letters to the Chief Minister's Office and the DGP to initiate action against the SCV for disrupting government's cable services in Coimbatore. As the cable-cutting continued across the state, nearly paralysing the Arasu Cable TV services, on January 7, he, in a controversial letter to the government, recommended the nationalisation of SCV for its alleged "rowdy and illegal" activities. On January 23, the officer was shown the door out of the Arasu Cable Corporation.


The "dealings" under scanner are land allotments in the Madurai IT park to Tessolve when Umashankar was the ELCOT head. However, it is learnt that the 2.5-acre land was allotted to Tessolve only after a Cabinet nod through a September 28, 2007 government order. Also, when Tessolve sought a loan from the state-owned Tamil Nadu Industrial Investment Corporation (TIIC) in October, 2008, Umashankar had informed the government that his wife was working as an HR executive in the semiconductor-making company.


And the TIIC had not sanctioned loan for the company. In December, Umashankar's wife is said to have quit the company after a six-month stint.Interestingly, Umashankar, as additional collector, had exposed irregularities in the construction of cremation sheds during the Jayalalithaa regime in 1995. Then he was handpicked by Karunanidhi himself to take on the collectorship of his home district of Tiruvarur and more recently to head the ELCOT and the Arasu Cable Corporation.

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