AFTER DROPPING the charge sheet issued against IAS officer Ashok Khemka in the Vadra land deal in November 2015, the BJP government in Haryana has now dropped another one issued against the officer for “causing avoidable loss on account of unsold stocks of 87,000 quintal wheat seeds” in an old case.
The chargesheet, related to the Vadra land deal, was issued by the previous Congress government while the one related to wheat seeds was issued by the current Manohar Lal Khattar government on July 1, 2016.
More than a year after the chargesheet was submitted, the government had dropped disciplinary proceedings against Khemka. In an order issued on August 4, Haryana Chief Secretary D S Dhesi said, “… the competent authority, after going through the charge sheet, the reply of Shri Ashok Khemka, the comments of agriculture and farmer’s welfare department on the reply of Shri Ashok Khemka as well as relevant records has found the reply of Shri Ashok Khemka as satisfactory.”
The case pertains to the period when Khemka was managing director of Haryana Seeds Development Corporation (HSDC) from October 2012 to April 2013. In the charge sheet, it was alleged that Khemka did not take much interest in liquidating the stock of certified wheat seeds, which resulted in about 87,000 quintals of it— worth Rs 22.21 crore, going unsold. According to the charges, this caused an avoidable financial loss to the tune of Rs 3.41 crore to the HSDC on account of bank interest alone on the carried-over stocks.
Khemka, who is currently principal secretary, science and technology department, was chargesheeted for minor penalty under Rule 10 of the All India Services (Appeals and Discipline) Rules. The previous state Congress government had proposed the chargesheet into the matter, but it was finally served during the Khattar government’s tenure.
However, Khemka had described the “loss” as something falsely propagated by a senior IAS officer (now retired) and his company to defame him as “the officer wanted him out of HSDC after he (Khemka) exposed many scams there”.
In a letter to the government in 2014, Khemka had mentioned a host of reasons contributing to the unsold wheat seeds in Rabi-2012. “The excessive supplies and lower demand for wheat seeds in Rabi-2012 were due to the existence of an estimated 9.2 lakh quintals of wheat seeds produced in-situ under the seed village scheme in Rabi-2011 and the complete ban imposed on the sale of private wheat seeds outside the state for extraneous considerations. The low demand and excessive supplies resulted in lower prices in Rabi-2012 due to which some wheat seed stocks remained unsold,” he had stated.