Fresh documents with The Hindu show clear and undeniable links between the sudden transfer of senior IAS official Ashok Khemka and his initiation of a probe specifically related to Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra and his companies, contrary to the Haryana government attempts to establish that the two events were unrelated.
The documents belie the claims made by the Haryana government that Mr. Khemka acted on the Vadra-DLF deals only after his transfer orders were served. Indeed, Congress spokespersons have alleged that he began his inquiry only on October 12 — the date he issued formal orders to this effect — which was one day after he was served his marching orders from the post of Inspector-General of Registration and Director-General Land Consolidation.
However, the internal documents confirm that Mr. Khemka’s first meeting on subject, which led eventually to his order cancelling the mutation of a key land transfer from Mr. Vadra to the real estate giant, DLF, was held on October 8, where the sale deed of village Shikohpur and the mutation papers were called for and examined in the presence of district officials.
‘Mutation’ is the legal term for substitution of the name of one person by the name of another in the record showing right or title to the property.
The reference to the October 8 meeting with other officials is made in passing in an internal memo signed by Mr. Ashok Khemka on October 15 which set out in brief the background to the order cancelling mutation he issued the same day.
The October 15 memo reads: “In view of serious allegations raised in the media by “India Against Corruption” [IAC] concerning the functioning of registering offices and Consolidation Department, the impugned sale deed of village Shikohpur, District Gurgaon along with mutation was called for on 8th October, 2012, when the district officials were present in a departmental inquiry. On presentation of the said document, an order no. IGR/2012/7185-88 dated 12th October, 2012 addressed to the Deputy Commissioners of Gurgaon, Faridabad, Mewat and Palwal was issued u/s 69(1) of The Registration Act, 1908. Another order bearing no EA4/2012/4620-21 dated 15th October, 2012 under section 42 of the East Punjab Holdings (Consolidation and Prevention of Fragmentation) Act, 1948 is made today. The orders are issued to the concerned. May be taken on record of this office.”
This note makes it clear that the process leading to the issuing of a formal order to examine all of Mr. Vadra’s documents began at least three days before Mr. Khemka was transferred.
Other internal papers accessed by The Hindu give an indication of the circumstances in which the decision finally got taken. In a handwritten official note dated October 12, 2012, Mr. Khemka states: “As reported in the press (The Hindu dated 8/10/2012; The Indian Express dated 12/10/2012), it is fit and appropriate to order an enquiry into the registries of lands by Shri Robert Vadra and his companies as regards alleged under-valuations is alleged by IAC [India Against Corruption] and Leader of Opposition of Haryana Vidhan Sabha. In case the allegations are false, the fair name of our registering officer will be cleared in public. In case the allegations are correct, it is appropriate that Shri Robert Vadra compensates the State.....After all, Shri Robert Vadra is a citizen and is amenable to the rule of law like any other ordinary citizen. A detailed order addressed to DCs of Gurgaon, Mewat, Faridabad and Palwal is pasted today and signed. Please issue.”
‘Two-year minimum tenure’
The Hindu also has a Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions (DoPT) notification dated October 13, 2010 revealing that Mr Khemka — who was thrown out of office within three months — was supposed to remain for a minimum tenure of two years at the senior post of Director-General/ Commissioner which he held in the Haryana government.
Keywords: Ashok Khemka, Vadra-DLF deals, Vadra files, mutation papers, probe initiation, Robert Vadra, land dealings, Hooda government, Ashok Khemka transfer, Indian Stamps Act, official transfer, land registration department, Haryana Government