The Tamil Nadu government transferred Health Secretary Beela Rajesh to the commercial taxes and registration department on Friday, amid a sharp spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the state, The Indian Express reported. It appointed J Radhakrishnan, principal secretary and commissioner of revenue administration, health secretary in her place. He had previously served as the health secretary from 2012 to 2018.

This came after the state government ordered an audit, following claims that more than 200 deaths of suspected coronavirus patients did not figure in the complete toll. Beela Rajesh had denied allegations that the numbers were fudged in order to keep the state’s toll low.

Radhakrishnan will continue to hold the post of commissioner of revenue administration until further orders, The Hindu reported. Radhakrishnan, a 1992 batch Indian Administrative Service officer, had on May 1 been appointed special nodal officer for the Greater Chennai Corporation, to fight the coronavirus crisis in the city, according to PTI.

Radhakrishnan was the district collector of Nagapattinam in 2004 when the Indian Ocean tsunami struck, killing hundreds of thousands of people in several countries, The Print reported on June 7. His relief work in India’s worst-affected district had been praised internationally. In 2005, former United States President Bill Clinton praised his administrative skills during the calamity.

An unidentified state government official said on Friday that there was “nothing amiss, nothing controversial” about Beela Rajesh’s transfer, The Indian Express reported. “She had done a good job,” the official said. “She is transferred to the commercial taxes and registration department, which is considered as a premium post.”

The officer implied that Radhakrishnan was a “star player”, who had to be brought back as the coronavirus crisis had passed its initial stage and come to a head. “We have crossed that point, [coronavirus] cases are steadily rising,” the official said. “It is the time to hand over the leadership to a senior officer.”

Asked about the sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 cases, a shortage of beds and allegations that the government had forged data, the official said the state faces an “unprecedented situation”.

“These charges were not mistakes or crimes but may be lapses while handling an extraordinary situation,” he said. “The health department under Rajesh had done everything effectively since the beginning. There were no lapses in active surveillance or early intervention of cases. We have done the best job in contact tracing.”

The second worst-hit state in the country after Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu once again recorded its highest single-day increase of cases on Friday, adding 1,982 cases, including 18 deaths, ANI reported. According to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, till Thursday, 38,716 people had been infected in the state, of which 349 had died.

Follow today’s live updates on the coronavirus here