Dr Khemka continues to be transferred by the Haryana government, whether it is headed by a Congress' Bhupinder Singh Hooda or BJP's Manohar Lal Khattar
Ashok Khemka, senior officer from Indian Administrative Services (IAS) cadre, who had blown the lid off from the controversial multi-crore rupee land deals of Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, has been once again transferred by the Haryana government. The Manohar Lal Khattar-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government transferred Dr Khemka to Archaeology and Museums Department from Transport department. This is the 46th transfer in 24 years for Dr Khemka, an upright and honest officer, and this time he was transferred in just 128 days.
This is what Dr Khemka has tweeted on Wednesday…
What is more shocking in the current transfer orders is Dr Khemka is posted at a rank that is normally assigned to an IAS officer, who has 16 years of experience. Dr Khemka is a senior IAS officer with 24 years of experience.
Notably, as Transport Commissioner, Dr Khemka had refused to issue fitness certificates to over-sized trucks and trailers for carrying automobiles leading to a truckers' strike in January.
Later, the truckers withdrew their strike after the Haryana government gave them one year’s time to get their vehicles modified as per the Central Motor Vehicle Rules (CMVR), 1989.
Just last week, Dr Khemka's action in the Vadra-DLF land license deal was vindicated in a report from the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). The report, tabled in the State Assembly, blamed Haryana's previous Congress government led by then chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda for showing undue favours to Vadra in his land deal with DLF.
Dr Khemka tweeted: "My action in VADRA-DLF land-license deal vindicated in CAG report, but continue to suffer the stigma of charge sheet."
He also questioned the CAG report saying that several issues (were left) untouched in the CAG report and cycle of corruption involved the triad, business, politics and bureaucracy.
The upright IAS officer, who had ordered the scrapping of the land deal saying, that it was illegal, was transferred and served a charge sheet for his actions by the Hooda government, which gave Vadra a clean chit.
"Real culprits sit in judgment over me. My pain and suffering may help to detox and cleanse the body politic," Dr Khemka tweeted, without naming anyone.
With reference to the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Haryana, Dr Khemka questioned whether those involved in wrongdoings in land deals and looting public money would face any action.
"Black-marketing of licenses and permits to cronies is loot of public wealth. Will action be taken against the black-marketers?" he had asked.
The 45th transfer of Dr Khemka by the BJP government is quite surprising. Especially, when last year, there were reports that he would be transferred to the Centre on deputation and his file was cleared by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
“The Union Cabinet secretary has made a recommendation to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to transfer the 1991-batch IAS officer, from Haryana to the central government. The PMO has also cleared Ashok Khemka's name and the communication is being sent to the Haryana government,” a July 2014 report from India Today said.
As a member of the Haryana cadre, Dr Khemka has been through dozens of departments including fisheries, housing, AIDS control, finance, planning, land administration, rural development, supplies and disposal, social justice and empowerment. He has also served as the managing director of Haryana’s public sector units in warehousing, seeds and electronics.
Then, suddenly in October 2012, he became a household name, when heading the land consolidation department, he simply cancelled a sweetheart land deal between DLF, the real estate giant and Skylight Hospitality owned by Robert Vadra, Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law. Dr Khemka had been in this job for less than three months.
The Congress government of Bhupinder Hooda reacted in the two ways they always react. One, by shunting Dr Khemka out. And two, by serving him a chargesheet for having caused damage to the reputation of Robert Vadra and that of real estate giant DLF, and for "illegally" cancelling the land deal.
Then in March 2014, citizens from the tri-city of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula launched a signature campaign asking Haryana government to stop prosecution of Dr Khemka.
"He (Dr Khemka) is unique because his actions have never been targeted at any political party, but only against corruption. We need more people like him to rebuild India’s steel frame, which is our administrative service. Let us tell Haryana that we, the People will not stand silent while the state persecutes and crushes honest officials," said Anish Aggarwal, who helped a Change.org petition to reach out to common citizens.
At Moneylife Foundation’s 4th anniversary celebration last year, Dr Khemka spoke about how people remain mute spectators even when they see someone being bashed in public.
The Haryana government, in its recent order has posted Dr Khemka as Secretary, Archaeology and Museums Department and Director General, Archaeology and Museums.