Sagayam has made powerful enemies in the past too.
Madurai, in southern Tamil Nadu, is acknowledged to be the fiefdom of MK Azhagiri (seen here), DMK leader M Karunanidhi's elder son, and allegations of money and "muscle power" being used to swing elections were rife.
The civil servant was picked by the Election Commission to be the district collector of Madurai so that the 2011 assembly elections could be conducted fairly.
He arrived in the district 20 days before it went to polls and embarked on a campaign to educate the voter and enforce the law.
"Initially, I spoke extensively to the chambers of commerce, NGOs, Rotary Clubs and the like but I wasn't satisfied; so I shifted my focus to college students, emphasing that they should vote without accepting money, and they should tell their parents the same." He also stepped up vigilance to make it difficult for political parties to bribe voters, and seized Rs 20 lakh that was meant for distribution.