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Updated: August 12, 2013 10:16 IST

Haryana rejected key reform to curb ‘benami’ deals, says Khemka

Chander Suta Dogra
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File photo of Khemka
File photo of Khemka

IAS officer wanted use of Aadhaar number for high-value land transactions

To cut down on graft, the UPA government is making Aadhaar cards mandatory for accessing public services but is baulking at the use of UID numbers in the one area where it might actually work to reduce corruption: high-value land transactions.

Though cancellation of the land deal mutation between Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra’s company, Skylight Hospitality, and DLF Universal Ltd was the most prominent order of Ashok Khemka to be reversed by the Haryana government after it shunted the senior IAS officer out of his crucial land-related post last October, an important reform introduced by him to prevent fraudulent and ‘benami’ land transactions also appears to have been quietly shelved.

Mr. Khemka was Director-General, Land Holdings and Land Records, and Inspector-General of Registration, Haryana, until he was transferred soon after he began a probe into Mr. Vadra’s deal. Earlier this year, a three-member committee set up by the Haryana government to look into the issues the officer raised indicted him for acting improperly.

In chapters four and five of his reply to the committee, Mr. Khemka says: “A small but powerful lobby of politicians and bureaucrats having [a] vested interest in panchayat lands succeeded in stifling a good legislative reform that would have helped prevent misappropriation of panchayat lands in the future.”

The committee was referenced to inquire into this issue too, but chose to ignore it completely.

During his 80-day tenure in the land records office, Mr. Khemka had unearthed several land scams — particularly in Gurgaon and Faridabad — in which valuable panchayat and forest lands were being usurped by powerful land sharks with the apparent complicity of the authorities by misusing the provision of the Consolidation Act. Citing examples, his reply lists several modes of abuse of consolidation proceedings with the aim of grabbing panchayat lands. Common hilly and forest lands in the Aravalis are getting fragmented and privatised in the name of consolidation, and panchayat land in “prime properties of Faridabad was partitioned to favour a few VVIPs,” he notes.

One of the steps he took to stop misappropriation of panchayat lands was to frame the Haryana Land Registration Rules, 2012, under Section 69(1) of the Registration Act, 1908, and send them to the Revenue Department for notification. Rule 4 was “framed to introduce the UIDAI’s Aadhaar number for individual and CIN issued by MCA-21 for Corporates so as to uniquely identify the vendors and vendees.”

Aadhaar would have helped

“Use of Aadhaar and CIN would have helped to identify all immovable properties of an individual or corporate across the State and it was proposed that Rule 4 would be brought into force after a year with effect from 1st October 2013 so as to give ample time to the prospective buyers and sellers to obtain Aadhar numbers through any registrar of UIDAI,” says Mr. Khemka. But in May 2013, he learnt from a newspaper report that the Rules were not approved by the Revenue Department. “This action… if true, will also be [tantamount to] wilfully reneging on a commitment made to the High Court in September 2012, to stop [the] unauthorised transfer of ownership and possessory rights of gram panchayat lands by registration in future,” he writes in his 100-page reply.

Mr. Khemka goes on to say that “had the Rules been notified, the incorporation of Aadhaar numbers/CIN numbers in the registered deeds would have helped to curb fraudulent and ‘benami’ transactions in immovable properties to a large extent. When thousands of crores of public money is being spent on providing unique Aadhaar numbers to the country’s residents, it is not understandable why [these] would not be made compulsory for big value transactions like registration of immovable properties when the same Aadhaar number is made compulsory for small value transactions like remittance of scholarship, money, social security benefits or domestic gas subsidies.”

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Being corrupt and saying that there is corruption in bureaucracy is embarrassing for the government. So they prefer to use efficient and inefficient for that. So instead of saying that Mr. Khemka was anti-corruption they say he was efficient which is not good(sic).

from:  Mukesh
Posted on: Aug 14, 2013 at 18:42 IST

Any law , any method or any regulation which can annihilate corruption and punish those who are guilty , won't come into existence because the very machinery which can make these changes is full of thieves.

from:  Yuvraj
Posted on: Aug 12, 2013 at 10:14 IST

IT's as clear as the daylight that those who are in power are doing fraudulent activities for their gains. If a any bureaucrat(one in thousand) questions it, he is thrown out of his chair. That is the Indian model of democracy and socialism......!

from:  Noushad Melethil
Posted on: Aug 12, 2013 at 09:57 IST

Don't worry,defenitly Ms.Sonia Gandhi will come forward to help Mr.Ashok
Khemka as she had done in the case of young IAS officer Ms.Durga Nagpal

Posted on: Aug 12, 2013 at 09:42 IST

I am a senior citizen inspired by the Indian National Movement .I feel that Mr.Khemka
should be lauded for his courage of bringing to public domain the acts of commission
and omission that the high and mighty do.Those with right connections reap rich
harvests of wealth and undue favours by getting the rules and law tweaked to
accommodate their vested interests.Khemka has acted in the high tradition of
conscientious bureaucrats who are normally not found now.It is the duty of all right
thinking citizens to stand by him.

from:  Mahavir Sharma
Posted on: Aug 12, 2013 at 08:45 IST

OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT must be repealed as otherwise it is only to inhibit dissemination of information,particularly in areas where monetary transactions are involved like land deals as mentioned, defence areas etc

from:  Atis
Posted on: Aug 12, 2013 at 06:26 IST
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