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IAS officer probing Robert Vadra land deals shunted out,Haryana cites HC order

Officer cancelled Rs 58-cr sale to DLF; says he is targeted for fighting corruption.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Updated: April 17, 2014 5:54:22 pm

Officer cancelled Rs 58-cr sale to DLF; says he is targeted for fighting corruption

The Haryana government was on the backfoot Tuesday after a senior IAS officer accused the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government of transferring him for probing alleged irregularities in the land deals of Robert Vadra,son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Ashok Khemka,a 1991-batch officer,said he was moved out of his job as Inspector General of Registration and Director-General (Consolidation) last week for wanting to examine all land deals of Vadra in Haryana.

The officer,despite being transferred,ordered an inquiry to look into the “alleged undervaluation of some properties registered by Robert Vadra or his companies as vendor or vendee”. Before being relieved,he also ordered the cancellation of the sale of a 3.5 acre plot of land in Manesar-Shikohpur that Vadra had sold to DLF for Rs 58 crore.

The Hooda government denied Khemka’s allegations and sought to justify his transfer saying it was only going by what the Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered in a case involving Khemka.

It also ordered an inquiry into Khemka’s allegations by a panel of three senior officers headed by the additional chief secretary. “The preliminary facts brought to the notice of the government by the district revenue authority at Gurgaon point out that prima-facie the factual position is different from the stand taken by Khemka,” chief secretary P K Chaudhery told a press conference.

But Khemka accused the government of victimising him. “My fault is that am upright and exposed scams,” he told The Indian Express. “The commissioner or financial commissioner of the revenue department had the right to cancel the mutation in appeal and if the revenue officer has conducted the mutation process wrongly,” Khemka said.

Chaudhery,however,said that Khemka’s transfer complied with the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court passed on October 1. He said Khemka had himself wanted to be relieved of the charge of special collector which is traditionally held by the DG (Consolidation). The High Court ordered the state government to take a decision as early as possible and either give charge to another officer who can competently exercise the powers of a special collector or appoint someone to the post but not in any officiating or temporary capacity.

Chaudhery said Khemka’s order regarding the alleged undervaluation of property was issued on October 12 and cancellation of mutation was ordered on October 15,both after his transfer on October 11. The transfer of Khemka was neither out of any malice nor done abruptly but arose out of the above mentioned administrative exigency,he said.

Chief Minister Hooda said that appropriate action would be taken in connection with Khemka’s statements in the media even as he asserted that transferring an officer was the prerogative of the government. “I have asked the chief secretary to examine the assertions made by the IAS officer and expect a report shortly,” Hooda told reporters. “The government is not favouring anyone. In case the assertions made by the IAS officer proved someone guilty in the inquiry,action will be taken against the defaulter. And if Khemka has misquoted facts,action will be taken against him.”

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