The Haryana government, late on Wednesday evening, served a charge sheet on IAS officer Ashok Khemka, accusing him of causing damage to the reputation of DLF Universal and Robert Vadra, Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law, by cancelling a land deal mutation between the two last year.
The charge sheet — which was in the making for the last two months ever since Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda ordered that the officer be charge-sheeted for administrative misconduct — accuses him of “illegally” cancelling the mutation. Mr. Khemka has been asked to respond within 15 days.
Among other charges made out against him are issuing wrong directions to deputy commissioners; not leaving charge of his office after being transferred and criticising the State government in the media. Mr. Khemka has repeatedly alleged that he is the victim of a witch-hunt by the government for daring to challenge Mr. Vadra’s questionable land deals. Mr. Khemka, in a letter to the Chief Secretary, questioned the manner in which the charge sheet was served to his minor son late in the evening, at a time when he was on leave and out of town.
His letter states, “There are threats to family members that political goons may vandalise the residence in night hours creating terror in our minds. The serving of the charge sheet in the night to a minor child at residence when I am on sanctioned outstation leave only aggravates the sense of terror in the minds of my family members.”
Mr. Khemka says: “I am not a fugitive and am on duty today in the office. The charge sheet could have been served upon me in the office…. I plead with folded hands that memos and charge sheets may please be served upon me in the office and my family members may not be punished for my ‘sins’ of exposing scams of the high and mighty in land-licensing.”
The IAS officer alleged that the government “deliberately leaked” the charge sheet to a Hindi newspaper even before it was served on him. “The charge sheet is private between the employer and the employee. Publishing it in the media is an act of criminal defamation ... The leakages are deliberate to malign me.”
Mr. Khemka was transferred from the post of Director-General, Consolidation and Holdings, and Inspector-General, Registration, on October 11 after he initiated inquiries into the Vadra-DLF land deal. The very next day, he cancelled the Shikohpur land mutation of 3.5 acres and ordered an inquiry into an alleged undervaluation of property owned by Mr. Vadra and his companies in Gurgaon, Palwal, Faridabad and Mewat. A committee the government set up to probe these orders concluded that these were “inappropriate and without jurisdiction.”