In a significant development, the Centre has given its nod for the voluntary retirement of the influential Odisha cadre IAS officer VK Pandian, who has been serving as the private secretary to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Pandian, who has held this key position since 2011 and wielded substantial influence within Odisha’s political landscape, recently garnered attention for his high-profile travels across various districts in the state via the use of a state chopper.
The decision to approve VK Pandian’s retirement was conveyed to the additional chief secretary of Odisha’s general administration department through a communication from the Department of Personnel and Training. The Centre cited its approval, stating, “In reference to letter No. GAD-SER1-PERS-0100-2014 dated 20.10.2023 from the Government of Odisha on the above-mentioned subject, I am directed to convey the approval of the competent authority for the acceptance of the voluntary retirement of Shri V Kartikeya Pandian, IAS (OD-2000), under Rule 16(2A) of the All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement benefits) Rules, 1958, with a waiver of the notice period as recommended by the State Government.”
VK Pandian, a 2000-batch IAS officer of the Odisha cadre, hailing from Tamil Nadu, has been at the forefront of the state’s administration for over a decade. However, his recent whirlwind tour of Odisha’s districts using a state chopper drew criticism from both the opposition parties, the BJP and Congress, who accused him of violating service condition rules.
In addition to the political opposition, Pandian faced criticism from within the ruling party as well. Expelled BJD MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik questioned his use of the chopper, alleging that public funds were being used for these trips.
Pandian’s IAS journey commenced with a post as a sub-collector in Dharmagarh, situated in Kalahandi district. He subsequently served as a collector in Mayurbhanj and Ganjam before his appointment in the Chief Minister’s office.”