Other States

Haryana to charge-sheet Khemka

Ashok Khemka  

A little more than a month after Ashok Khemka submitted his 100-page note to the Haryana government, in which he alleged that Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra “falsified documents and conducted sham transactions” in the State, Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda has ordered that the IAS officer be charge-sheeted for administrative misconduct.

On the recommendations of the administrative department committee, Mr. Hooda has approved action against Mr. Khemka under Rule 8 of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules for cancelling the mutation of 3.5 acres of land at Shikohpur in Gurgaon district, which Mr. Vadra sold to real estate giant DLF Universal Ltd. Charges also relate to Mr. Khemka’s criticism of the government in the media.

Confirming the orders to charge-sheet Mr. Khemka, Chief Secretary P.K. Chaudhary, however, declined comment, saying: “It is a personnel matter.”

Mr. Khemka, who has not been served the charge sheet yet (it is being legally vetted), reacted to the development on his hugely popular twitter account. “Media reports Haryana CM chargesheeting me for action on Robert Vadra — DLF deal. Do not know what was my duty otherwise,” he tweeted. Another tweet quoted Edmund Burke’s “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Within minutes, both tweets were re-tweeted more than a hundred times.

Official sources associated with the process of determining action against Mr. Khemka told The Hindu that exercise of power became a misdemeanour when it was coloured.

“Exceeded jurisdiction”

Holding that Mr. Khemka exceeded his jurisdiction in cancelling Mr. Vadra’s land deal mutation, the sources said a close scrutiny of his orders and the rules and laws in force showed that Mr. Khemka’s exercise of his powers fell under the ambit of administrative misconduct that would attract major penalties.

The penalties he could face if he is found guilty are reduction to a lower stage in the time scale of pay for a specific period; demotion to a lower grade or post, which is also a bar on promotion; and compulsory retirement and removal from service, which will not be a disqualification for future employment, the sources said.

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 Robert 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 Haryana government set up to probe these orders concluded that they were “inappropriate and without jurisdiction.”

Mr. Khemka was not invited to present his defence before the committee, but was later asked to give his comments on the report. The 100 pages of his well- researched reply, reported first by The Hindu on August 10, further embarrassed the government as he not only raised questions of bias in the composition of the three-member committee but also alleged that Mr. Vadra was indulging in sham land transactions in Haryana to make money as a middleman on the premium from colony development land licences.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 7:25:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/haryana-to-chargesheet-khemka/article5176604.ece

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