Who is VK Pandian, Odisha’s power player in new role under CM Naveen Patnaik?

Former IAS officer V K Pandian has been appointed Chairman 5T with the rank of Cabinet Minister, a day after his voluntary retirement request was approved.– 

Former IAS officer and Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik's close aide V K Pandian has been appointed Chairman 5T (Transformational Initiatives) with the rank of a cabinet minister, an official notification said on Tuesday. 

The development comes less than 24 hours after Pandian's request for voluntary retirement from government service was approved. Pandian will work directly under chief minister Patnaik 

"V K Pandian is hereby appointed as Chairman 5T (Transformational Initiatives) and Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha in the rank of Cabinet Minister. Pandian shall work directly under the Chief Minister," said a notification by the general administration and public grievance department 

The 2000 batch IAS officer, who started his career as Dharmagarh sub-collector in Kalahandi district, joined the Odisha CMO in 2011 and became the most trusted lieutenant of Naveen Patnaik. 

VK Pandian hails from Tamil Nadu and began his career as an IAS (Indian Administrative Service) officer in the Punjab cadre. However, his career took a significant turn when got Odisha cadre by virtue of his marriage to Odia IAS officer, Sujata Rout

Pandian's most prominent role as a bureaucrat was serving as the private secretary to Patnaik, a position he has held for over a decade. This role granted him substantial influence within the power corridors of Odisha.