October 7, 2017 1:20:37 am
Following a letter from Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka, his minister Krishan Bedi has returned the official jeep of a junior officer. The official jeep, No- HR-70U- 0066, belongs to Ambala’s district social welfare office (DSWO) which was taken away from the office on September 29, 2016, reportedly for use “by the minister’s office or his camp office”.
“The office of DSWO, Ambala, is seriously handicapped due to its official vehicle being taken away,” said Khemka in an official note sent to the minister on Friday. When contacted, Bedi, who is minister of state for social justice and empowerment, told The Indian Express that the car has been sent to the Ambala officer on Friday. “I have nothing to do with the matter. It was an arrangement between the officials. The matter came to my notice two days back and immediately I told the department’s director to send the car to the officer concerned,” he said.
Before sending a note to the minister, Khemka, who is a principal secretary in Bedi’s department, had asked the director of the department to retrieve the official jeep from the minister’s staff and send it to its rightful owner. Three days ago, the director had sent a letter to the minister’s office in this connection. “I am told a request has also been made to you by the Chief Minster’s Office in this regard,” Khemka mentioned in the letter.
According to the IAS officer, various expenses, including petrol, vehicle maintenance and driver’s salary, were being met from the budget earmarked by the state legislature for the DSWO, Ambala. “As per my knowledge, you (ministers) are allotted two cars by the ministerial car section of the Government. In case you or your personal staff requires more than two vehicles for performing official duties, a request may be made to the competent authority in the government, of which you are a minister of state,” added Khemka in his letter.
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In the note to the minister, the officer further said, “I humbly request your goodself in public interest to return the official jeep, No. HR- 70U-0066, to the DSWO, Ambala, immediately after updating the logbook. The use of the vehicle for your office/camp office during the period may be got regularised from the Chief Secretary and the Finance Department at your level,” he added.
Bedi, however, said, “What is the connection of a minister with a jeep? I have come to know that the car was sought by the head office last year when post of the DSWO was vacant in Ambala. There was sanctioned post of the driver also. The district was being looked by a Kurukshetra officer as additional charge. Now, 10-15 days back, a regular officer has joined as DSWO in Ambala. He sought the vehicle and the same has been sent for the officer.”
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